“Paradise Restored” (Revelation 22:1-6, 12-20)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 29, 2022

“Paradise Restored” (Revelation 22:1-6, 12-20)

Paradise lost. Paradise restored. That’s the story of the Bible, from cover to cover. In fact, the Bible literally has bookends, at front and back, telling that story. As we will now see. Thus our theme this morning: “Paradise Restored.”


Published in: on May 28, 2022 at 7:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Holy City, the New Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:9-14, 21-27)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 22, 2022

“The Holy City, the New Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:9-14, 21-27)

Last week we went from the now to the new. We saw that one day there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Indeed, we heard the Lord say, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And so we also saw the new Jerusalem, the holy city coming down out of heaven from God–the new Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God with man.

This morning we take a tour of the new Jerusalem. This is good, because the new Jerusalem is our final destination. It’s where you and I are going to spend eternity. We are citizens of that holy city. Our citizenship has been bought and paid for with the blood of Christ. Where we’re heading is “The Holy City, the New Jerusalem.”


Published in: on May 21, 2022 at 10:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“From the Now to the New” (John 16:12-22; Revelation 21:1-7)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 15, 2022

“From the Now to the New” (John 16:12-22; Revelation 21:1-7)

Our readings today take us “From the Now to the New.” What I mean is, they take us from the “now” we are experiencing in the present to the “new” that awaits us in the future. And that knowledge of the “new” gives us the hope and strength we need to carry on in the “now.”


Published in: on May 14, 2022 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Good Shepherd and His Flock” (John 10:22-30; Acts 20:17-35; Revelation 7:9-17)

Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 8, 2022

“The Good Shepherd and His Flock” (John 10:22-30; Acts 20:17-35; Revelation 7:9-17)

Today is the Sunday in the church year known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” You’ll notice that on this day all of the readings, the psalm, the hymns–all carry the theme of the shepherd and his flock, the sheep. And this will strengthen our faith today and give us life and hope for the future, as we see what God’s word says about “The Good Shepherd and His Flock.”


Published in: on May 7, 2022 at 1:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Lion of Judah, the Lamb Who Was Slain” (Revelation 5:1-14)

Third Sunday of Easter
May 1, 2022

“The Lion of Judah, the Lamb Who Was Slain” (Revelation 5:1-14)

What’s going on in our world? Is anybody in charge here? It seems like the world is spinning out of control. We’re just getting over a global pandemic, and then we go into a global panic. Russia attacks Ukraine for no good reason, putting everyone on edge. Here at home, we’ve got men winning women’s swimming tournaments and a new Supreme Court justice who doesn’t even know what a woman is. Then there’s the economy. I checked my investment portfolio the other day, and, year to date, it’s down over 10%. If that’s not bad enough, at the same time inflation is at its highest rate in 40 years. Think of what you’re paying now for gasoline and groceries. So investments are way down, inflation is way up–it’s a double whammy.

And then there’s what’s happening to the church. Church membership and church attendance are way down, all across the country. The percentage of people who identify as Christians has dropped dramatically in the last ten to twenty years. We’re becoming a secularized, post-Christian nation. And in the parts of the world where Christianity is growing, our brothers and sisters are suffering terrible persecution.

When we’re faced with these situations–unless we have our heads in the sand and are unaware of what’s going on in the world–we may be tempted to despair, to lose hope. We look at the world and say: What’s going on here? Is anybody in charge? The present is pretty bad, and it doesn’t look like there’s any hope for the future.

Dear friends, today I want to encourage you. Yes, there is hope for the future. There is someone in charge. History does have a destination, and it’s a good one. What I mean is, the history of the future has already been written. It’s like a scroll to be unrolled. And the good news is, someone has been found who is worthy to unroll the scroll. Thus he reveals the course of events and their final outcome to us. He not only reveals them, but he is in charge of them. We meet that someone in our reading today from Revelation 5: “The Lion of Judah, the Lamb Who Was Slain.”


Published in: on April 30, 2022 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Only Jesus: No Other Name” (Acts 4:1-12; Revelation 1:4-18; John 14:1-14)

Second Sunday of Easter
April 24, 2022

“Only Jesus: No Other Name” (Acts 4:1-12; Revelation 1:4-18; John 14:1-14)

Something significant, something momentous, happened in the city of Chicago 175 years ago this week. No, I’m not talking about the day I was born. I was born in Chicago, yes, but I’m not quite that old. No, but something else was born there 175 years ago. It was the birth of our church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It was on April 26, 1847, that representatives from fourteen Lutheran congregations came together at First St. Paul Lutheran Church on the north side of Chicago, and they formed a brand new synod. They were all German-speaking congregations, mostly from the Midwest, so they called the new synod “Die Deutsche Evangelisch-Lutherische Synode von Missouri, Ohio, und andern Staaten,” that is, being translated, “The German Evangelical-Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States.”

Well, in the 175 years since then, we’ve grown from fourteen congregations to about 6,000. We’ve expanded far beyond the Midwest, with congregations all across the country and mission work and partner churches all around the world. And we’re not nearly as German as we used to be: You’ve let some of us Scandinavians in, as well as Blacks and Hispanics and Asians and every ethnicity under the sun. But there’s one thing that still binds us all together, and it is this: “Only Jesus: No Other Name.”


Published in: on April 23, 2022 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Power of the Easter Promise” (Luke 24:1-12)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 17, 2022

“The Power of the Easter Promise” (Luke 24:1-12)

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

This morning I want to tell you about the power of a promise. Our reading from Luke 24 puts on display the power of a promise. It’s a promise that was good, because of the one who made it. It’s a promise that was good, even though people forgot that the promise had been made; and even though when some people did think about it, they just knew that the promise wasn’t any good after all.

It’s about what happened at the tomb that morning. The angels said to the women, “Remember. Remember how he spoke to you. Remember what he said would happen. Remember the promise.” The promise came true in power back then, and the same promise is true today. Today we marvel at, and take hold of, “The Power of the Easter Promise.”


Published in: on April 16, 2022 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Filling the Office” (Acts 1:12-26)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 16, 2021

“Filling the Office” (Acts 1:12-26)

Let’s see, where are we on the calendar? On the church-year calendar, I mean. This past Thursday was Ascension Day, forty days after Easter. Fifty days after Easter–that’s next Sunday–will be the Day of Pentecost. So now we’re in the ten-day period between Ascension and Pentecost. Our reading for today from Acts puts us into that time frame. We’re with the apostles and other believers in Jerusalem in the days immediately following Christ’s ascension. And we’re waiting for the ascended Lord to pour out the Holy Spirit, which he promised would happen soon. So we’re in that in-between time.

But during this in-between time, there is some important business to conduct. Because a vacancy has occurred in the pastoral office. One of the twelve apostles has fallen by the wayside, and his spot needs to be filled. Our text, from Acts 1, is the story of the filling of that office. And so our theme this morning: “Filling the Office.”


Published in: on May 15, 2021 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Love Commanded, Love Connected” (John 15:9-17)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 9, 2021

“Love Commanded, Love Connected” (John 15:9-17)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another.” So says the Lord Jesus today in the reading from John 15. “But, but, Jesus, how come you’re giving us a commandment? Like we’re supposed to obey this? But I thought you were not about commanding people, just forgiving them. This sounds like Law to me, and I thought you were only Gospel!”

Yeah, how can you command us to do this, Jesus, to “love one another”? That’s too hard. I mean, there are some people I like to love. I love my children; I love my spouse. Well, most of the time, at least. When they’re being nice to me and sweet. It’s a little harder, though, when they’re being ornery or getting on my nerves.


Published in: on May 8, 2021 at 7:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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“Branches, Abiding in the Vine, Bearing Fruit” (John 15:1-8)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 2, 2021

“Branches, Abiding in the Vine, Bearing Fruit” (John 15:1-8)

In the Holy Gospel for today, in John 15:5, our Lord Jesus says to us: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” And so our theme this morning: “Branches, Abiding in the Vine, Bearing Fruit.”

And those will be the three parts of our message today. First, branches: How do we become branches? Second, abiding in the vine: How does that happen? And third, bearing fruit: What does that look like? So let’s go.


Published in: on May 1, 2021 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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