“Our Anxieties and God’s Care” (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 28, 2017

“Our Anxieties and God’s Care” (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11)

What are your anxieties? What are you worried about? Anxiety is really another way to say worry. They pretty much mean the same thing. To be anxious, to be worried, means that something is weighing on your mind that you’re thinking about, almost obsessing about. You’re worried about what might happen in the future. It’s the negative prospect of what might happen that keep hanging around in your head. That’s anxiety, that’s worry.

So what are your anxieties? We all have them. From time to time, some negative possibility causes us to worry. Today we’ll look at some anxieties that are common among men, and, I dare say, even common among Christians. You see, it’s when our trust in God’s care is weak or wavering–that’s when we begin to worry. So that leads us to our theme for this morning: “Our Anxieties and God’s Care.”

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Published in: on May 27, 2017 at 11:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Hope for the Future and a Present Priesthood” (John 14:1-14; 1 Peter 2:2-10)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2017

“Hope for the Future and a Present Priesthood” (John 14:1-14; 1 Peter 2:2-10)

You gotta have hope. Hope is faith facing the future. You and I, we need something to look forward to. Otherwise, we lose heart, we get depressed, and our hopelessness paralyzes us. So we need hope, hope for the future, in order to function well in the present. And really, we need hope for the big future, the eternal future. Because the reality is, at some point, we’re going to depart this life. At some point, something is going to do us in, and death is going to carry us away. Do you have a hope that can deal with that? A sure hope, a certain hope? Do you have a hope for the future that strengthens you to carry out your calling in the present? In our lessons today, we hear about both: “Hope for the Future and a Present Priesthood.”

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Published in: on May 14, 2017 at 1:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Good Shepherd for Straying and Suffering Sheep” (1 Peter 2:19-25)

Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 7, 2017

“The Good Shepherd for Straying and Suffering Sheep” (1 Peter 2:19-25)

I’m guessing by now you’ve picked up on the theme of the day. You’ve heard it throughout the service so far. For example, in the Introit, the words of Jesus: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, and I lay down my life for the sheep.” In the Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd.” In the Holy Gospel, where Jesus calls himself “the shepherd of the sheep.” In the Hymn of the Day, “The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” Yes, no doubt, today is the Sunday in the Easter season we call “Good Shepherd Sunday.” The readings and the hymns and the prayers all revolve around the image of Christ as the Good Shepherd.

And it’s a good thing he is! It’s a good thing that Jesus is our Good Shepherd, isn’t it? For without him, where would we be? Not in a good place, I can tell you! We sheep would be lost and vulnerable and easy prey for predators. We would have no one to find us and bring us back when we stray. We would have no one to rescue us and save us when we suffer. But with our Good Shepherd to guide and guard and protect us, we are safe and sound and able to graze in green pastures. That’s the big difference that having Jesus as our Shepherd makes. And so our theme for this message: “The Good Shepherd for Straying and Suffering Sheep.”

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Published in: on May 6, 2017 at 9:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Easter Joy Continues!” (John 20:19-31; Acts 5:29-42; 1 Peter 1:3-9)

Second Sunday of Easter
April 23, 2017

“Easter Joy Continues!” (John 20:19-31; Acts 5:29-42; 1 Peter 1:3-9)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Yes, he is risen indeed! And guess what? He is still risen! Christ didn’t stop being risen once Easter Day was over. And so the Easter season continues–and with it, our Easter joy. It’s the Second Sunday “of” Easter! Thus our theme for this morning: “Easter Joy Continues!”

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Published in: on April 22, 2017 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Glorious Suffering” (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
June 1, 2014

“Glorious Suffering” (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11)

Have you ever heard of the term “oxymoron”? An oxymoron is when you have two words placed next to each other in a phrase, but they really don’t belong together. For example, “jumbo shrimp.” “Jumbo” and “shrimp” would seem to be self-contradictory terms. Another oxymoron: “Rap music.” The two ideas don’t go together. Or this one, speaking as someone coming from Chicago: “St. Louis pizza.” Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

Well, a couple of our readings today seem to have an oxymoron going on, two self-contradictory ideas being placed right next to each other. In both the Epistle reading and the Holy Gospel, we find the idea of “glory” paired up with the idea of “suffering.” “Glory” and “suffering”? Those two don’t seem to go together. But in the Christian phrasebook, maybe they do. And so our theme this morning: “Glorious Suffering.”

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Published in: on June 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Baptized, Saved, and Ready to Speak” (1 Peter 3:13-22)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 25, 2014

“Baptized, Saved, and Ready to Speak” (1 Peter 3:13-22)

Are you ready? Let me ask you again: Are you ready? And you say, “Ready for what? Ready to do what?” So I say, “Ready to speak.” “Ready to speak about what?” Are you ready to speak about the hope that you have as a Christian? If someone were to ask you about your Christian faith, about your hope, would you be ready to answer? That’s the situation that St. Peter addresses in our text for today, the Epistle reading from 1 Peter 3. There Peter encourages the Christians hearing his letter, and he encourages us, to always be prepared “to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” And he does this, not by hammering them over the head, but rather by reminding them of who they are in Christ. Thus our theme for today: “Baptized, Saved, and Ready to Speak.”

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Published in: on May 24, 2014 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Living Stones and a Holy Priesthood” (1 Peter 2:2-10)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 18, 2014

“Living Stones and a Holy Priesthood” (1 Peter 2:2-10)

In the Epistle for today, St. Peter compares us Christians to, among other things, “living stones” and a “holy priesthood.” Both of these images are based on things that were realities in the Old Testament for the people of Israel. “Living stones” has to do with the temple, that great building in Jerusalem where the people worshiped, and a “holy priesthood” has to do with the priests who carried out their duties at the temple. “Living stones” and a “holy priesthood.” But these are not just some quaint figures of speech that are stuck in the long ago and far away. No, these images are telling us about living realities for us today, with great relevance for our daily life, both individually for us as Christians and collectively for us as church. And so our theme for this morning: “Living Stones and a Holy Priesthood.”

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Published in: on May 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Redeemed: From What? With What? Now What?” (1 Peter 1:17-25)

Third Sunday of Easter
May 4, 2014

“Redeemed: From What? With What? Now What?” (1 Peter 1:17-25)

To introduce the sermon today I’d like us all now to open our hymnals to page 322, to the Small Catechism, the part on the Creed. And under the Second Article, on pages 322 and 323, you will see Luther’s Explanation of the Second Article, starting with “What does this mean?” Let’s read that now together:

“I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”

Now I’m here to tell you today that Luther did not make this stuff up out of thin air. No, he got these ideas from the Bible, the Word of God. And more specifically, from a couple of verses in our Epistle reading for today, from 1 Peter chapter 1. Looking at 1 Peter 1:18-19, where it reads: “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ,” and so on.

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Published in: on May 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm  Comments (1)  
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“Born Again to a Living Hope” (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Second Sunday of Easter
April 27, 2014

“Born Again to a Living Hope” (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Our reading today from 1 Peter 1 says a lot about your past, your present, and your future, and we can sum it up in this phrase from our text: “Born Again to a Living Hope.”

“Born again to a living hope.” The apostle Peter uses this phrase right at the beginning of his epistle. By the way, passages from 1 Peter will be the Epistle readings for the rest of this Easter season, starting today and going for the next five Sundays. And to go along with that, we’ll be starting a new Bible class on 1 Peter this Wednesday. I encourage you all to come.

So here we are at the start of Peter’s epistle, and he begins by saying: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope,” and so on. There’s that phrase, “born again to a living hope.”

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Published in: on April 27, 2014 at 2:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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