Sunday, October 26, 2014

"The Son Sets You Free"

The problem 497 years ago in 1517,was the same problem of Adam and Eve who fled from the forgiveness of the loving God who created them in the beginning. It was the same problem of the Israelites. It is the same problem of the Church today and through the ages until the Last Day. It is the problem that has led to the closure of this congregation. It is the problem--the evil--of losing, replacing, rejecting the forgiveness of sins for the pursuit of happiness and our own self-centered, me generated ideas of worship.

In Luther’s Day the church had replaced the forgiveness of sins with things like indulgences and purgatory related to the works of men purchasing and working off the debt of sin. In our day we have largely replaced the forgiveness of sins with our own strength of faith and love for God.

To hear and/or the entire sermon preached for The Reformation, 'The Son Sets You Free," click on this link.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

“What Do You Think about the Christ?"

“What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’? [Psalm 110:1]
45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. Matthew 22:43-46

Jesus has stumped the teachers. Ha! Wouldn’t that be fun? Wouldn’t you just love to do that at school sometime? Imagine so surprising your teacher that she can’t even ask you anymore questions—for the whole rest of the year!

But Jesus isn’t just trying to get the Pharisees off His case or make fun of them so they leave Him alone. Even though His teachers, the Pharisees, hate Jesus, He wants to save them. Even though they are the ones who are going to lie about Him and make Him die on the cross, He wants them to that He is the Christ—the very Son of God the Father in heaven who has sent Him to die for them—and for you.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, “What do you think about the Christ?" click on this link.

[Graphic: “Jesus Teaches the Pharisees,” unknown artist.]

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How's This for Being Relevant and Contemporary?

Did you know that, according to our Lutheran teaching and practice of the faith, every time we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," in the Lord's Prayer, we pray that our Father in heaven would give us faithful government leaders to "vanquish the Turks," i.e., Islamists, and that He would "preserve us from all sorts of disaster to body and livelihood, like lightning, hail, fire, flood, poison, plague, cattle disease, war and bloodshed, famine, destructive beasts, wicked men, and so forth?" [Luther's Large Catechism explanation to the Fourth Petition of the Lord's Prayer as cited below from "Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions," Concordia Publishing House.*]

How do you get more contemporary and relevant than that with what we are facing in the Ebola and Islamic viruses invading our United States of America?

[Graphic: "Carlos Borromeo Signismomdo Caula (Roman Catholic Priest) Administering the Sacrament to Plaque Victims," artist unknown to this author.]

* The Fourth Petition of the Lord's Prayer.

71] Give us this day our daily bread.  72] Here, now, we consider the poor breadbasket, the necessaries of our body and of the temporal life. It is a brief and simple word, but it has a very wide scope. For when you mention and pray for daily bread, you pray for everything that is necessary in order to have and enjoy daily bread. On the other hand, you also pray against everything that interferes with it....

74] There is, indeed, the greatest need to pray for earthly authority and government. By them, most of all, God preserves for us our daily bread and all the comforts of this life. Though we have received from God all good things in abundance, we are not able to keep any of them or use them in security and happiness if He did not give us a permanent and peaceful government. For where there are dissension, strife, and war, there the daily bread is already taken away, or at least hindered....

76] ... On this topic anyone might indeed make a long prayer. With many words one could list all the things that are included, like when we ask God to ... give wisdom , strength, and success to emperors, kings, and all estates, and especially to the rulers of our country and to all counselors, magistrates, and officers. Then they may govern well and vanquish the Turks and all enemies.... 78] On the other hand, we ask that He would preserve us from all sorts of disaster to body and livelihood, like lightning, hail, fire, flood, poison, plague, cattle disease, war and bloodshed, famine, destructive beasts, wicked men, and so forth...."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Two Questions

Nice guys finish last. I don’t need to tell you that. You see it and live it every day.

Very likely you’ll go home today and watch a contest or two or three--or even more if you have the NFL package and PIP--where the winner, the guy or t...eam that finishes first, is often the one who can bend and push the rules to the limit; break the rules in such a way as to not get caught; or who simply doesn’t care, figures the officials can’t/won’t catch you every time, and even if they did they’ll become numb to it after a while and won’t want to disturb the flow of the game.

...You love your spouse and family, your boyfriend or girlfriend, you watch out for and help your buddies and sacrifice for their welfare and one day you find out they are cheating on you or have dumped you. Heck, even at church you look around and feel like you are finishing last while other churches seem to be flourishing.

Maybe being nice, doing what is right, playing by the rules, and living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God isn’t such a great idea after all. I mean even Jesus broke the rules. Isn't that right in the Gospel lesson we heard today?

To hear the entire sermon preached for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, "Two Questions," click on this link.

[Graphic: “Jesus Heals a Man with Dropsy,” Church Icon.]

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"What Have You against Me?"

"After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18And she said to Elijah, 'What have you against me, O man of God?'" 1 Kings 17:17–18
"What have you against me?" That is the question of every sinner, born of unbelief.
...All three of our Scripture lessons today reveal to us how God has visited and continues to visit His people. Perhaps more importantly for us, they reveal *why.* And most importantly of all, they reveal that God is not against us *when* He visits His people.
To hear the entire sermon preached for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, "What Have You against Me?" click on this link.
[Artwork: “Jesus Raises the Widow’s Son,” photo of the Hildesheim Cathedral, built A.D. 1010-1020.]

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What Does Tomorrow Hold?

What does tomorrow hold? That’s the question on everybody’s mind that is behind Jesus’ question of His disciples on the mountainside: “Why Are You Anxious? “

This is a powerful and important question our Lord asks His disciples up on the ...mountain. Notice He doesn’t ask “if” the disciples are anxious. He asks them, "Why Are You Anxious?"

It is one He asks every one of His baptized children. "Why Are You Anxious?" And it is one He asks of you, His beloved ones gathered at Trinity today as we approach the close of our congregation at the end of October and the uncertainty that tomorrow holds. "Why Are You Anxious?"

Again, it isn’t a matter of "if," or "whether or not" you have anxiety right at this moment, but when —because it happens to us all, including those closest to the Lord like the disciples to whom He is speaking in our Gospel reading today--"Why Are You Anxious?"

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, "What Does Tomorrow Hold?," click on this link.

[Artwork for today's OT reading: "Elijah & the Widow of Zarephath," oil on canvas by Nicolaes Maes—b.1634, d.1693.]

Sunday, September 21, 2014

“Rise and Go Your Way”

TEXT: Luke 17:19 An [Jesus] said to the [thankful Samaritan leper], “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Dear Baptized and Cleansed Ones of God,

“Rise and go your way!” This is what the Lord, your God, is telling you every time you hear the words and name by which you were born again from above and into the kingdom of heaven--in the name of the Father ,and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, "Rise and Go Your Way," click on this link.

Monday, September 15, 2014

“And who is my neighbor?”

TEXT: And behold, a lawyer stood up to put [Jesus] to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

It’s a great question the lawyer asks, isn’t it? "And Who Is My Neighbor?"

The simple answer is--yes, you guessed it--Jesus. Ah, but unlike the lawyer, we don’t have Jesus standing right in front of us. Or do we?

[Artwork: “Le Bon Samaritain,” by Aimé Morot,1880.]

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, "And Who Is My Neighbor?," click on this link.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"Be Opened"

Last week the tax collector showed us how the Lord lifts up the lowly and only the lowly. This is the life of Baptism, the life of repentance and forgiveness of sins that is a daily thing by which “the old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge (come forth—be opened up like a butterfly) and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever. As St. Paul writes in Romans, chapter 6: 'We were buried with Him through Baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.'”

Now today, as we approach another anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack on our soil, our Gospel not only shows us the healing of one deaf and mute 2000 years ago, but speaks God’s Word to us today so that our sinful Ears, Mouths, Hearts, and even heaven itself “Be opened” to us now.

To hear the entire sermon preached for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, "Be Opened," click on this link.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

“God, Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!”

“God, Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!” is the confession, attitude, and prayer life of the Christian.
It’s not much of a slogan, or mission statement. It doesn’t have a lot of pop and sizzle. It’s not going to fill a football stadium or build a television empire.
But it is the confession, attitude, and prayer life of the Christian and the church of God in Christ Jesus. “God, Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!”  
...While the world began their long holiday celebration this past week, the Church commemorated the lives of St. Augustine [August 28] and St. Monica [August 27], his mother; as well as the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptizer [August 29]. Each of these are related and help us understand the mercy of our Lord and the working life of the Christian.
To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, “God, Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner!,” click on this  link.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

"In Whom There Is Nothing False"

Church tradition speaks of St. Bartholomew as an evangelist to the peoples of India and Armenia, and report him to have been flayed alive and beheaded, then crucified upside-down for his trouble. Fittingly, Bartholomew is the patron saint of tanners.

The account of St. Bartholomew being skinned alive is the is often portrayed by artists by posing him with a large knife, holding his own skin—by the face, as in Michelangelo's Last Judgment wherein the artist has turned Bartholomew into a self portrait. One might conclude that Michelangelo aspired to that level of faith and could consider his fresco adorning the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel to be a prayer etched in stone.

And the composite character of Nathanael and Bartholomew of Scripture and Christian tradition gives, along with Michelangelo's rendering of the saint, provides us with a fitting illustration of every Christian...

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for St. Bartholomew, Apostle, click on this link.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"Ashamed to Beg"

1[Jesus] also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. Luke 16:13

Dear Baptized of God,

“Not strong enough to dig and ashamed to beg,” that is the dilemma of the sinner. And it is the stumbling block that prevents the Pharisees and scribes of 2000 years ago--as well as the false prophets and unbelievers of today--from seeing that this Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of which the Law and Prophets speak—the very Son of God who is the fulfillment of their Scriptures.

This parable of Jesus, like those that have come before it--The Parable of the Lost Sheep; The Parable of the Lost Coin; The Parable of the Prodigal Son—are about the kingdom of heaven and how He has come to open it up to sinners and bring them with Him into the presence of the Father.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity, "Ashamed to Beg," click on this link.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Beware of False Prophets"

Why does Jesus tell us to “Beware of false prophets?”

Answer: Because these “ravenous wolves,” regardless of their pious appearance and stated intent, are destructive to souls and enemies of salvation. They turn us away from God.

The gre...atest threat to the Church and her people—God’s little lambs--comes from within (or at least what appears to be within)Christ's church,...

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity, "Beware of False Prophets," click on this link.

Monday, August 4, 2014

"Set Before Them"

“And having blessed them, He said that these also should be set before them.” really should come as no surprise when Jesus, by His Word of blessing, takes what was created by God the Father through Him in the first place, and again ...sets it before the people gathered by His Holy Spirit to hear His Word preached.

Furthermore. is not the fact that everything we have today comes from what He created in those first six days of history--every morsel of food, every drop of water, every breath of air—is that not itself miraculous?

With this in mind, do you really think God the Father, who created you, delivered you into this world, had His only begotten Son suffer and die for you, and has born you into the kingdom of heaven by Holy Baptism would then be negligent in seeing to your ongoing needs of body and soul?

To hear the entire sermon preached for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity, "Set Before Them," click on this link.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Your Righteousness Exceeds"

Have you ever gotten into one of those conversations where a friend or neighbor or somebody you’re sitting next to on the plane finds out you are Lutheran and the person says something like, “Oh, yeah? You’re the ones say good works aren’t important and you can do whatever you want and still go to heaven, right?”

Or maybe you’ve even gotten into an argument with a fellow Lutheran—maybe even a be...loved family member or friend--about faith and Jesus meaning that you don’t have to go to church or give offerings; or that we ought to tolerate and even commend and welcome people who openly and willfully live contrary to the Word of God.

Hear again the Word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from our Gospel reading today:
[Jesus said:] “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them...."

To hear and/or read the entire sermon, "Your Righteousness Exceeds," preached for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity, click on this link.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"They Left Everything"

Peter labors and labors--and finally is given more than he knows what to do with because he is not a fisherman for himself, but for many.

 This is a powerful and comforting lesson to us. The Lord is always near to us. And though it seems by our reckoning that He may delay for a time, finally the nets burst forth. As we continue to let down our nets according to our vocation, abiding in His Word, He will not only give us what we need, but what He wishes to deliver to others through us.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity, "They Left Everything," click on this link.

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Your Father Is Merciful"

"Your Father is merciful." [Luke 6:36]

This is the good news of today's Gospel text for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity.

The fact that you are here reading or listening to this today is evidence of God’s mercy. It tells you that He... has been and is now giving you everything you need for body and soul even though you have done nothing to deserve it and everything to be grounded from it.

Our Father in heaven has every right and would be perfectly fair if He grounded us for life and sent us to bed without our supper. But He doesn’t do that, does He?

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity, "Your Father Is Merciful," click on this link.



Sunday, July 6, 2014

"This Man Receives Sinners"

According to our Gospel of St. Luke for this Third Sunday after Trinity, "the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear [Jesus]. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, 'This man receives sinners and eats with them.'” [15:1-2]

Does this mean that Jesus tolerates your sin, even joins you in your sin? Certainly not!

But this is how the Pharisees and scribes saw it, and why they grumbled,...

But nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesus "the Christ, the Son of the Living God," calls sinners to repentance, strips each sinner of his own self-righteousness and brings them in repentance to dine with Him at His Table alongside other repentant, sinners at a most heavenly feast of His body and blood for forgiveness, life and salvation.

So there’s no need to grumble! There is always room at the table for one more sinner. God the Father is always ready to welcome one more stubborn Pharisee who has finally admitted to being among the lost....

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Third Sunday after Trinity, "This Man Receives Sinners," click on this link.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Rock and the Hard Place

The real life stories of the apostles, Peter and Paul, are real life stories of being chosen out of the world and being hated by it—about being taken out of the hard place of the world and being placed in and built on the Rock of Jesus.

......we remember St. Peter and St. Paul today--because they are us. God takes us flat-nosed Simons and our privileged Saulish attitudes out of the world and makes us Peters and Pauls.

Peter the harsh and lowly in us becomes the rock of the church in the confession of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Paul the high and mighty in us becomes the small one who ceases to be great and, knowing himself to be “chief of sinners” is used by God to bring many to faith.

They show us the love of God that we might believe and have life in His name.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles, "The Rock and the Hard Place," this link.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Lutheran Book of Concord Reading for St. Peter & St. Paul, Apostles Sunday

The One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church is built on nothing but the person and work of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, delivered by the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins in the pure proclamation of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments.



5] But the Church is not only the fellowship of outward objects and rites, as other governments, but at its core it is a fellowship of faith and of the Holy Spirit in hearts. Yet this fellowship has outward marks so that it can be recognized. These marks are the pure doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments in accordance with the Gospel of Christ. This Church alone is called Christ’s body of Christ, which Christ renews, sanctifies, and governs by His Spirit. Paul testifies about this when he says, “And gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). 6] Those in whom Christ does not act [through His Spirit] are not the members of Christ. The adversaries admit this too. The wicked are “dead” members of the Church. We wonder why the adversaries have found fault with our description that speaks of living members. 7] Neither have we said anything new. Paul has defined the Church precisely in the same way, that it should be cleansed in order to be holy. He adds the outward marks, the Word and Sacraments. For he says:
Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the Church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

In the Confession we have presented this sentence almost word for word. The Church is defined by the Third Article of the Creed, which teaches us to believe that there is a holy Catholic Church. 8] The wicked indeed are not a holy Church. The words that follow, namely, “the communion of saints,” seems to be added in order to explain what the Church signifies: the congregation of saints, who have with each other the fellowship of the same Gospel or doctrine and the same Holy Spirit, who renews, sanctifies, and governs their hearts.

Condensed quotations from the Lutheran Confessions from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lord grant you faith in His grace alone
for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Am Lazarus

[Jesus said:] “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side." Luke 16:19-22
Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the Word Who became flesh to dwell among us [John 1:14]. In this flesh He did not become like the rich man, but he became like Lazarus. And when He, a lowly Lazarus bearing the sin of the world died and was raised from the grave, He Himself was and remains to this day The Angel of God who bears every Lazarus, every baptized believer, in His flesh to the bosom of God, the Father in heaven.

To hear and/or the entire sermon preached for the First Sunday after Trinity, "I Am Lazarus," click on this link.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Believing Is Seeing

...We like to say, “Seeing is believing.” That may well be true as far as the things of this world. But as for the kingdom of heaven is a different matter altogether. In the kingdom of God, believing is seeing.

...It is a blessed coincidence for us that Father’s Day falls on this Feast Day of the LORD our God. For, as we hear and learn from the holy Gospel for the Feast of the Holy Trinity, everything that is good—including the unveiling of our eyes to life and salvation--begins with the Father and His love that has always been begetting His beloved Son and sending forth His Holy Spirit with you in mind....

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Feast of the Holy Trinity, click on this link.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Lutheran Book of Concord Reading for Holy Trinity Sunday

It is not coincidental that Isaiah records the seraphim singing one to another, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” The Old Testament is full of such threefold, Trinitarian language in praise of the Lord, which is fleshed out in the pages of the New Testament and the life of Christ and His Church.
[See attachment for bulletin formatted Word doc ]
1 Our churches teach with common consent that the decree of the Council of Nicaea about the unity of the divine essence and the three persons is true. 2 It is to be believed without any doubt. God is one divine essence who is eternal, without a body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness. He is the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible (Nehemiah 9:6). 3 Yet there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). These three persons are of the same essence and power. 4 Our churches use the term person as the Fathers have used it. We use it to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself. Our churches condemn all heresies (Titus 3:10-11) that arose against this article,... [THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION]
1 Our adversaries [the Roman Catholic Church] approve Article I of our Confession, in which we declare that we believe and teach that there is one divine, undivided essence. Yet, there are three distinct persons, of the same divine essence, and coeternal: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 2 We have always taught and defended this article. We believe that it has sure and firm testimonies in Holy Scripture that cannot be overthrown. We constantly affirm that those thinking otherwise are outside of Christ’s Church, are idolaters, and insult God. [THE APOLOGY OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION]      
Condensed quotations from the Lutheran Confessions from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone
for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The LORD Dispersed Them

Together, man and woman were to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion”—as they walked with God, living by every Word that proceeded from His mouth and breathed the life of the Holy Spirit into them. That is, God dispersed them to live according to His “will ... on earth as it is in heaven.” [The Third Petition of the Lord's Prayer]

But this heaven on earth they were given wasn’t good enough for Adam and Eve. They only wanted the heaven. They were not content to be in the image of God, they aspired to become their own God, to rise above the earth out of which they were created, and which was to be the place where they were to live with God and received everything they needed to have life and have it abundantly.

Ever since this fall, man has been trying to raise himself back up into the heavenly places again. We see it in our OT lesson today. “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:3-4

Did you catch that last part? ”Lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

This is in direct rebellion and disobedience to God’s good Word in the beginning. Man was created and meant to ”be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for the Feast of Pentecost, “The LORD Dispersed Them,” click on this link.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014



34] I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

35] I cannot connect this article (as I have said) I to anything better than Sanctification. Through this article the Holy Spirit, with His office, is declared and shown: He makes people holy (1 Corinthians 6:11). Therefore, we must take our stand upon the term Holy Spirit, because it is so precise and complete that we cannot find another. …

37] “But how is such sanctifying done?”
Answer, “The Son receives dominion, by which He wins us, through His birth, death, resurrection, and so on. In a similar way, the Holy Spirit causes our sanctification by the following: the communion of saints or the Christian Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. That means He leads us first into His holy congregation and places us in the bosom of the Church. Through the Church He preaches to us and brings us to Christ.

38] Neither you nor I could ever know anything about Christ, or believe on Him, and have Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 4:6). …

40] Learn, then, to understand this article most clearly. You may be asked, “What do you mean by the words I believe in the Holy Spirit?”
You can then answer, I believe that the Holy Spirit makes me holy, as His name implies.

41] “But how does He accomplish this, or what are His method and means to this end?”
Answer: “By the Christian Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. 42] For, in the first place, the Spirit has His own congregation in the world, which is the mother that conceives and bears every Christian through God’s Word (Galatians 4:26). Through the Word He reveals and preaches, He illumines and enkindles hearts, so that they understand, accept, cling to, and persevere in the Word” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

Condensed quotations from the Lutheran Confessions from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I Will Cleanse You

Dear Baptized, “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses,” said, “I will cleanse you.”

And He “made us alive together with Christ,” fulfilling in Baptism what He ...promised hundreds of years earlier in Babylon through the lips of His anointed prophet, Ezekiel. 25I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.

What beautiful baptismal language and imagery we get from Ezekiel. It is language and imagery by which the Israelites could get a foretaste of what would be fulfilled in Christ, and spread to every corner of the world through His disciples and priesthood of all believers.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for Exaudi Sunday, "I Will Cleanse You," click on this link.

The Holy Spirit, the Helper

The Holy Spirit is the Helper sent by Christ so that the distinction between the Law and Gospel of God’s Word is properly proclaimed by the called ministers of His Church. In this proclamation sinners are called to repent and receive the forgiveness of sins to believe and be saved.

3 . . . the term Gospel is not always used and understood in one and the same sense. It is used in two ways in the Holy Scriptures and also by ancient and modern Church teachers. 4 Sometimes it is used to mean the entire doctrine of Christ, our Lord, which He proclaimed in His ministry on earth and commanded to be proclaimed in the New Testament. Therefore, this includes the explanation of the Law and the proclamation of the favor and grace of God His heavenly Father. For it is written, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). And shortly afterward the chief points are stated: Repentance and forgiveness of sins. So when Christ after His resurrection commanded the apostles to “proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15), He compressed the sum of this doctrine into a few words. He also said, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations” (Luke 24:46–47). Paul, too, calls his entire doctrine the Gospel (Acts 20:21). He summarizes this doctrine under two points: Repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 In this sense the general definition of the word Gospel, when used in a wide sense and without the proper distinction between the Law and the Gospel, is correctly said to be a preaching of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. 6 For John, Christ, and the apostles began their preaching with repentance and explained and taught not only the gracious promise of the forgiveness of sins, but also God’s Law. Furthermore, the term Gospel is used in another way. In its proper sense, Gospel does not mean the preaching of repentance, but only the preaching of God’s grace. This follows directly after the preaching of repentance, as Christ says, “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

Condensed quotations from the Lutheran Confessions from Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, copyright 2005, 2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Lord grant you faith in His grace alone
for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ask in My Name

[Jesus said:] "In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. John 16:23
Today is a very special day for the people of the United States of America. ...You see, Memorial Day is the day we honor our dead—particularly the dead who served to protect us in the armed services of our nation so that we at home might enjoy the freedom to assemble as we do right here, right now, today. Thanks be to God in Christ Jesus our Lord!

... But more importantly—yes, even more important than Memorial Day for all of us, whether believer or unbeliever; today is a sabbath day of rest, a day designated by God for us to "come to the knowledge of the truth…and be saved.” This day is not designated by God because it falls on a particular day of the week or as specific date on the calendar, like Memorial Day. No, as Jesus has said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for Rogate Sunday, "Ask in My Name," click on this link.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Spirit of Truth

John 16:13, 8a "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, … And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin ..."


Do you know what the number one sexually transmitted disease in the state of Utah is?...

It is the same one as in each of the other United States America. In fact, it is the same disease that is spreading uncontrolled throughout the world, and has been since shortly after the world began.


Since even before there was ever an adulterous act of any kind--straight, gay, or otherwise—sin has been a sexually transmitted disease.

It is not that sex is the original sin. The original sin is that referenced by Jesus in our text: “they do not believe in me.”

So why, then, are sexual sins such a big deal?

Because, since both man and woman sinned in the beginning, they became the host bodies of death. In the day they ate of that which God commanded them not to eat, they became infected with the disease of sin, and thus carriers of the most communicable and deadly disease of all.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for Cantate Sunday, "The Spirit of Truth," click on this link.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sorrow WIll Turn into Joy

... for us today, the birth pain analogy of our Gospel text breaks down a bit. Thanks be to God, through modern medicine we have been able to significantly decrease the pain and anguish and mortality rate in child birth. But this has not come without cost—financially and spiritually.
Because of the high financial cost, we spend much of our lives working to secure the benefits of health care--and most of the rest of it finding ways to enjoy ourselves while we are able. After all, what is good health worth if you don’t have time to enjoy it?

This elimination of pain and seeking of pleasure is very costly spiritually. Sadly, so much of what happens within popular Christianity reflects and mimics the world. We will do just about anything to avoid suffering. And we have come to believe that all God wants is for us to be happy.

As with all sin and lies, there is a grain of truth to this....

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for Jubilate Sunday, click on this link.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Jesus: from Sacrificial Lamb to Good Shepherd

[Jesus said:] “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11 [ESV]

And so He has.

This is not only the definition of what it takes to be a good Shepherd, it is the definition of what it means to good, period.

...The One Who is the Good Shepherd, first became the best of sheep—the Lamb of sacrifice. He went where no man had gone before. He went where no man could or can go and return.

Celebrating His return on Easter morning, the One who was the Perfect Sacrificial Lamb is now the Good Shepherd—leading us so we can follow where He has gone and come back out on the other side.

To hear and or/read the entire sermon preached for Misericordias Domini Sunday, "Jesus: from Sacrificial Lamb to Good Shepherd," click on this link.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Peace Be with You

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews.”

But it wasn’t just the Jews they feared. The disciples have filled themselves with doubt and disbelief and dread. Jesus is dead, and they didn’t even stand up for Him, let alone with Him. The night He was arrested in the Garden “They all left Him and fled.”

Think about that for a moment. They had deserted and left this One that they had confessed be “the Christ, the son of the living God [Matthew 16:16],” to suffer the greatest of tortures and most shameful of executions.

Imagine you had been entrusted with babysitting your little baby brother or sister, your godchild, your grandchild and they got hurt, or worse, because you were busy talking or texting on the phone, watching TV, playing a video game, or making out with your boyfriend/girlfriend—you know, those things you do to try to find a bit of escape from the realities of the world and to pursue some sort of happiness in it.

Yeah, that kind of fear times 100.

To hear and or/read the entire sermon preached for Quasimodo Geniti Sunday, "Peace Be with You," click on this link.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

There You Will See Him

Hear the Easter angel proclaim the good news of the Resurrection once again:
“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples an...d Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

In retrospect it’s rather humorous, really. The women react like the little child to whom you say, “Don’t, …” Then they go and do exactly the last part. The, “don’t,” gets their attention, but all they remember are the last words, which become the action words.

So the angel has gotten the women’s attention and they proceed to be greatly alarmed. It will take Jesus in the flesh to calm their fears. And He will surely oblige, just as He said He would—in Galilee for the women and the disciples, in the Sacrament for us.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached for The Resurrection of Our Lord, "There You Will See Him," click on this link.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

GOOD FRIDAY AT NOONDAY: Jesus' Seven Words from the Cross

[To hear the entire Good Friday at Noonday Service, click on this link.]


P: He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised
for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,
C: and with His stripes we are healed.

P: Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family, for
whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, to be given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death on the cross;
C: who now lives and reigns with You and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

P:We all, like sheep, have gone astray;
C: and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

P: Almighty and most merciful God, give us grace so to
contemplate the Passion of our Lord
C: that we may find in it the forgiveness of our sins;
through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

The HYMN, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” LSB # 450, is sung.


The HYMN, “Jesus, in Your Dying Woes,” LSB #447, is sung between readings.

THE FIRST WORD: Luke 23:34

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”

: Lord Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who
by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God was taken, and by the hand of wicked men was crucified and slain, and did make intercession for the transgressors, we pray Thee, grant unto us all the blessed assurance that there is now no condemnation to them which are in Thee,

C: and that, if any man sin, we have an Advocate with
the Father in Thee, the Righteous, whose blood speaks better things than Abel’s blood, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

“Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise”

P: Lord Jesus Christ, Thou merciful King and Prince of
Peace, who didst veil Thy divine glory and was robed in humility, crowned with thorns, nailed upon the tree of shame, and numbered with the transgressors, we thank Thee that Thou hast remembered us in our condemnation and hast translated us into Thy Kingdom of Grace.

C: We pray Thee, rule in our hearts and lives with the
scepter of Thy Word, and when life’s brief day is ended, take us with Thee into Paradise, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

THE THIRD WORD: John 19:26, 27

“Woman, behold thy son!” – “Behold thy mother!”

P: O Compassionate Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee for Thy perfect obedience which Thou did render for us even to the death of the cross. We pray Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that He may write Thy holy Law upon our hearts, so that, following Thy example of filial love and obedience, we may honor and serve our parents, and, from the least to the greatest, may learn obedience and walk in Thy footsteps.

C: And let Thy strength be made perfect in our weakness, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

THE FOURTH WORD: Matthew 27:46

“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

P: Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Author and Finisher of our faith, who didst tread the winepress of God’s wrath alone and wast made a curse for us on the accursed tree, being forsaken of God, we pray Thee, grant that our faith in Thee may never know doubt or change. Strengthen us in the sure knowledge and confidence that nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Thee and that, though Thy Father hide His face from us in a little moment of wrath,

C: we may never despair of His loving-kindness, for the
sake of Thy bitter agony, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

THE FIFTH WORD: John 19:28

“I thirst!”

P: O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Redeemer of the world, who on the cross didst endure the pains and anguish of body and soul to accomplish all things for our redemption and in Thy cry “I thirst!” didst reveal Thy fervent desire and zeal to draw all men unto Thyself,

C: grant that the souls of men everywhere may hear Thy
gracious Gospel and drink of the waters of life and be satisfied, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

THE SIXTH WORD: John 19:30

“It is finished!”

P: Lord Jesus, who on the cross didst cry out: “It is finished!” we thank Thee that Thou didst complete the work which Thy Father gave Thee to do: Thou didst fulfill the Law of God for us; Thou didst bear its curse in our stead; Thou didst reconcile all men to God.

C: Grant that we may with our whole heart believe this and that we may never rely on any work or merit of our own, but always trust in Thy finished work on Calvary, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.


“Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit”

P: Lord Jesus Christ, who in Thy dying moment didst
commend Thy soul into Thy Father’s hands, thereby assuring us that Thou didst finish the work of our redemption and that Thy Father is well pleased in Thee, we pray Thee,

C: grant us by Thy Holy Spirit such confidence in Thy
redemption that, washed of our sin in Thy blood, we, too, in our dying hour may confidently commend our soul into the Father’s hand, trusting wholly in Thy merits, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

P: O Savior of the world, by Your cross and precious blood You redeemed the world.
C: Save us and help us, we humbly implore You, O Lord.
P: We adore You, Lord Jesus, in Your cross and Passion, through which You have brought life and joy into the world.
C: Be gracious to us according to Your mercy and bless us and lift up the Light of Your countenance upon us and give us Your peace.

P: Gracious Jesus, our Lord and our God, at this hour You bore our sins in Your own body on the tree so that we, being dead to sin, might live unto righteousness.
C: Have mercy upon us now and at the hour of our death and grant to us, Your servants, with all others who devoutly remember Your blessed Passion, a holy and peaceful life in this world and through Your grace eternal glory in the life to come, where, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, You live and reign, God forever. Amen.
P: Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;
C: have mercy upon us.
P: Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;
C: have mercy upon us.
P: Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;
C: grant us peace.

P: Christ crucified draw you to Himself, to find in Him a sure
ground of faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of almighty God, the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you now and forever.
C: Amen.

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