“The Grace of Giving” (2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
June 27, 2021

“The Grace of Giving” (2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15)

Today let’s talk about giving. Yes, that’s right, giving–like we do when we put offerings into the offering plate. Usually that’s a subject we like to avoid. People become defensive or uncomfortable if the subject of giving comes up. They’ll make excuses for why they can’t give more. They instinctively reach for their wallets and hold on tight, so that no one can get in there. And they close their ears as well. People don’t like to have someone put pressure on them to put more in the plate, like this is just some money grab and that’s all.

Well, not so. If we talk about giving from a biblical perspective, it does involve the giving of money, but it’s not just about money. There’s more to it than that. You see, Christian giving is a vital part of Christian living. The grace of God transforms us in every aspect of our lives, including our pocketbooks and what we put in those offering envelopes.

The grace of God: That’s where our talk of giving begins and ends–with God’s grace, his giving. It’s about what he gives to us. God’s gracious self-giving leads to our giving of what he has already given to us. We are simply channels for his further giving. The grace of God is such that he is rich in the blessings he gives us. And God’s grace in Christ is so rich that he would have us all excel in “The Grace of Giving.”


Published in: on June 26, 2021 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“From Our Earthly Tent to Our Heavenly Home” (2 Corinthians 4:13-18; 5:1-10)

Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 13, 2021

“From Our Earthly Tent to Our Heavenly Home” (2 Corinthians 4:13-18; 5:1-10)

As some of you know, my older brother Jim recently was put on hospice with an inoperable brain tumor. He doesn’t have long to live–any day now, it looks like. So I wanted to talk with him while there was still time. He had retired to North Carolina, so we had to do this by video chat, and at a time when he was awake and alert enough to do it. Well, we talked a couple of days ago, on Thursday. His family was there with him to make it happen.

It was tough seeing Jim in the condition he was in. It was hard to hold back the tears, knowing this might be the last time I talk to him. Jim wasn’t able to talk much, but he could hear what I was saying. I shared some memories with him. I told him I loved him and have always looked up to him. And I shared a Bible verse with him. It was from last week’s Epistle reading, 2 Corinthians 4:16, where it says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

Now why could I say that? How could I say, “we do not lose heart,” when what I was seeing on the screen was so heart-breaking? Here’s why: Because I know, and I know Jim knows, we will be going “From Our Earthly Tent to Our Heavenly Home.”


Published in: on June 12, 2021 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Power Made Perfect in Weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
July 8, 2018

“Power Made Perfect in Weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

The words that engage our attention this morning and that will bring comfort to our souls are these verses from our Epistle reading, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, where St. Paul writes: “But he [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” This is our text. And so our theme for this message: “Power Made Perfect in Weakness.”


Published in: on July 7, 2018 at 11:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Prophets without Honor” (Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6:1-13; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
July 5, 2015

“Prophets without Honor” (Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6:1-13; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

“Prophets without Honor.” That’s what we see in our readings today, in the lessons from Ezekiel, Mark, and 2 Corinthians. “Prophets without Honor.” That’s what we see in our world today–that’s what we see in our nation today. And who are these prophets who do not receive the honor befitting the message that they bring? Well, guess what? It’s us, we in the church, who bring the word of God. So it behooves us today to listen now, as we consider the trials–and the blessing–of being “Prophets without Honor.”


Published in: on July 4, 2015 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Amen” (The Lord’s Prayer; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 20, 2014

“Amen” (The Lord’s Prayer; 2 Corinthians 1:18-22)

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

Yes, “Alleluia” of course is the word of the day for Easter Day. We’ve been saving it up all Lent, and now today we finally get to let it loose. And what a day to do so! Our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on this day, winning the victory for us over death and the grave. If that doesn’t elicit an “Alleluia,” I don’t know what will. “Alleluia” is a Hebrew word originally, and it means “Praise ye the Lord.” And praise is most fitting for us to render unto the Lord God for the great salvation he has assured us of by raising his Son from the dead.

“Alleluia,” the word of the day for Easter. But today I’d like to suggest another “A” word that works just as well on this day. And that is the word “Amen.” “Amen” also is a Hebrew word that has carried over into English. It means “to be sure,” “to be certain.” The basic idea is firmness or certainty. In the Bible, the word “Amen” expresses a certain affirmation in response to what has been said. And that idea, and the word itself, carried over into the Christian church, and on through all the centuries, all around the world, down to this very day. “Amen,” we say, whenever we want to affirm as solid and trustworthy whatever has just been said, whether that is a prayer or a blessing or what have you.


Published in: on April 20, 2014 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Burden of Our Ministry and the Basis for Our Joy” (2 Corinthians 4:5-12)

East Missouri Pastors’ Conference
Sunday, September 30, 2012

“The Burden of Our Ministry and the Basis for Our Joy” (2 Corinthians 4:5-12)

The theme for our conference this year is “The Joy of Ministry.” Ministry as a joy, rather than a burden. And tonight, in our opening service, we want to deal with both aspects of that equation, namely: “The Burden of Our Ministry and the Basis for Our Joy.”


Published in: on October 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“It’s a Gift!” (2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
July 1, 2012

“It’s a Gift!” (2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15)

There was a lot of talk this past week about how the federal government can force you to buy a product that maybe you don’t want to buy, and they do that by extracting money from you if you don’t comply. But what do we call that? Is it a “mandate”? Is it a “penalty”? Is it a “fine”? No, the Supreme Court ruled, it’s a “tax.” Well, whether you call it a mandate, a penalty, a fine, or a tax, it still is a matter of compulsion and coercion and force. That’s how governments operate.

Now when we come to your giving to the church, do we operate in the same way? Do we compel you or force you or coerce you into giving a certain amount of money? Like, “Do this or else”? No. Emphatically, no! Your giving for the work of the church is not a mandate, a penalty, a fine, or a tax. Rather, as we’re about to hear, “It’s a Gift!”


Published in: on June 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“From Earthly Tent to Heavenly Home” (2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:10)

Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 17, 2012

“From Earthly Tent to Heavenly Home” (2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:10)

What happens to us Christians when we die? And what will happen to us after that? And how will all that be different from what we’re experiencing now? These are questions that St. Paul gets at in our text for today, where I’ve combined last week’s Epistle reading from 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and this week’s reading from chapter 5. Since this pertains to all of us, as well as to our loved ones who die in the Lord, it’s good that we listen to what God’s word has to say about these things. Our theme today: “From Earthly Tent to Heavenly Home.”


Published in: on June 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm  Comments (1)  
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