“Encouragement for St. Timidity” (2 Timothy 1:1-14)

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 6, 2019

“Encouragement for St. Timidity” (2 Timothy 1:1-14)

Fear, or timidity, can paralyze a person and render him ineffective. This is true when it comes to our life as Christians. We live in a hostile world. We’re in enemy territory. The world is not friendly to the Christian faith. Where will we find the courage we need to be faithful Christians? Faithful Christians are those not ashamed of the gospel, nor afraid of suffering for it. Not ashamed, not afraid. The alternative is that we turn into tame and timid “people-pleasers.” St. Paul addresses this issue when he writes to Timothy in our Epistle reading. And the question comes to us also: Will you be a faithful St. Timothy or a fearful “St. Timidity”?

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Published in: on October 5, 2019 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Thanking God for St. Michael and All Angels” (Revelation 12:7-12)

St. Michael and All Angels
September 29, 2019

“Thanking God for St. Michael and All Angels” (Revelation 12:7-12)

Today in the Christian church year is Michaelmas, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. It always falls on September 29, and since this year that date falls on a Sunday, that’s why we’re celebrating it today. Angels, thus, will be topic of this sermon: who they are, what they do, and why we thank God for them. We’ll even get into who this mysterious figure St. Michael is. So now let’s get to it, under the theme, “Thanking God for St. Michael and All Angels.”

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Published in: on September 27, 2019 at 4:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“One Mediator” (1 Timothy 2:1-15)

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 22, 2019

“One Mediator” (1 Timothy 2:1-15)

Our text this morning is a portion of the Epistle for this day, 1 Timothy 2, reading from verse 3 through verse 7, as follows: “God our Savior . . . desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle. . . .”

This has to be one of the most hated passages in the Bible in our day. Think of it: It boldly proclaims that there is only one mediator between God and men, and that it is the man Christ Jesus. That is just unacceptable! It is way too narrow for most people today. “One Mediator”?

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Published in: on September 21, 2019 at 9:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“This Man Receives Sinners” (Luke 15:1-10)

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 15, 2019

“This Man Receives Sinners” (Luke 15:1-10)

“This Man Receives Sinners.” So said the Pharisees and the scribes about Jesus. They meant it as an insult: “This man receives sinners.” We hear those same words, and we take them as the most wonderful good news: “This man receives sinners!” I guess it depends on what you think about “this man,” Jesus, and whether or not you put yourself in the category of “sinners.”

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Published in: on September 14, 2019 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“‘Blessed Is the Man’: Really, Lord?” (Psalm 1; Luke 14:25-35)

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 8, 2019

“‘Blessed Is the Man’: Really, Lord?” (Psalm 1; Luke 14:25-35)

Please turn with me once again to Psalm 1, in the front of your hymnal. We sang this psalm earlier in the service, but now I’d like us to speak together the first three verses. Psalm 1, verses 1 through 3:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

Well, this sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Delight in God’s word, meditate on it every day, and you will be blessed! In all you do, you will prosper! Hey, sign me up! This is a pretty sweet deal.

So, I am a Christian. I believe in the Lord. I like reading the Bible. I think about it a lot. Now all my life should be hunky-dory, shouldn’t it? I should be prospering like nobody’s business. No more problems. Smooth sailing all the way.

But maybe, just maybe, my life doesn’t exactly look like that. Maybe yours doesn’t either. All this fruit I’m supposed to be bearing, where is it? Why does it feel like I’m withering sometimes? Instead of prospering, I end up perspiring. Instead of my life being fruitful, it feels like it’s futile. This is being blessed? “‘Blessed Is the Man’: Really, Lord?”

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Published in: on September 7, 2019 at 10:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Was Jesus Making the Sabbath Day a Labor Day?” (Luke 14:1-14)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
September 1, 2019

“Was Jesus Making the Sabbath Day a Labor Day?” (Luke 14:1-14)

Many of you know that I grew up in the most Jewish neighborhood in the city of Chicago. Lots of Jewish families on every block. The family next door to us were Orthodox Jews, meaning that they tried to keep the laws of Judaism, literally, very religiously. I remember one time they hired my sister to come over next door to their place on Saturdays, so that she could turn on the air conditioner for them, since that was considered work, and they were not supposed to do any work on the Sabbath.

Well, what about that? I suppose they were following the laws of Judaism as they had been taught, I’ll give them that. But were they understanding the prohibition of work on the Sabbath aright? Did God really say, “Thou shalt not turn on an air conditioner on the Sabbath day,” or else you’re working and thus violating his commandment?

What prompted my memory of this is an incident recorded in the Holy Gospel for today. There Jesus is being watched closely by the Pharisees, to see if he will violate God’s commandment by doing work on the Sabbath day. Well, did he? “Was Jesus Making the Sabbath Day a Labor Day?”

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Published in: on August 31, 2019 at 11:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Faith to Run the Race” (Hebrews 11:17-31; 12:1-3)

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
August 18, 2019

“Faith to Run the Race” (Hebrews 11:17-31; 12:1-3)

I read recently that Rosie Ruiz died. Who was Rosie Ruiz, you ask? She was the woman who cheated in order to win the Boston Marathon in 1980. She had jumped out of the crowd about a half-mile from the finish line and just ran that little distance. But at the award ceremony, when they put the laurel wreath on her head and she raised her arms in victory, it appeared strange that she had no sweat under her armpits. She was not breathing hard, either. After an investigation, she was stripped of her title. And it turned out she had cheated in the New York City Marathon the year before, in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In New York, she rode the subway to a point near the finish, and did the same thing there, only running the last little bit. Rosie Ruiz did not have the endurance to go the distance, so she cheated instead.

Dear friends, the Christian life is like running a marathon. Only, you’ve actually got to run the race. You can’t ride the subway for the hard part. And most of life is the hard part. So how are you going to make it to the finish line? Brothers and sisters, you will need endurance.

Our reading today from the Book of Hebrews is about finding the endurance you need to run the race and cross the finish line. The race is not easy. It will be arduous. There will be obstacles in the way, things to slow you down. You will break a sweat. The race will require your sweat, your tears, and maybe even your blood. But God will provide you with the endurance necessary to finish the course. And here is what you need: “Faith to Run the Race.”

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Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 6:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Fear Not, Little Flock” (Luke 12:22-34)

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
August 11, 2019

“Fear Not, Little Flock” (Luke 12:22-34)

“Fear not,” the Lord tells Abram in our Old Testament Reading for today. “Fear not,” Jesus tells his disciples in the Holy Gospel. “Fear not.” “Fear not.” Do these “fear nots” have you tied up in knots? Are you worried that you’re not good enough of a Christian, because you do have fears, you do have worries? Well, instead of being tied up in knots, realize today that these “fear nots” come with promises attached. And that makes all the difference. And so our theme this morning: “Fear Not, Little Flock.”

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Published in: on August 10, 2019 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“In What Does Your Life Consist?” (Luke 12:13-21; Colossians 3:1-11)

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
August 4, 2019

“In What Does Your Life Consist?” (Luke 12:13-21; Colossians 3:1-11)

In the Holy Gospel for today, Jesus says these words: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Well, if your life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions, then what does your life consist in? That’s what we’re going to explore this morning: “In What Does Your Life Consist?”

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Published in: on August 3, 2019 at 9:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Law Questions and the Good Samaritan Answer” (Luke 10:25-37)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
July 14, 2019

“Law Questions and the Good Samaritan Answer” (Luke 10:25-37)

Our text today is one of the most well-known parables in the Bible. It’s the story of the Good Samaritan. And Jesus’ parable is prompted by a couple of questions that someone asks him. Law questions, questions about what we have to do to keep God’s Law. And so our theme this morning: “Law Questions and the Good Samaritan Answer.”

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Published in: on July 13, 2019 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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