“The Word Is Very Near You” (Deuteronomy 30:11-30; Genesis 2:18-25; Mark 10:2-16)

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
October 7, 2018

“The Word Is Very Near You” (Deuteronomy 30:11-30; Genesis 2:18-25; Mark 10:2-16)

In the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses is having a review session with the people of Israel. They’re about to enter the promised land of Canaan, and Moses has some things he wants to go over with them. That’s the Book of Deuteronomy in a nutshell. Moses reviews all that the Lord has done to bring them to this point. How he had brought them out of Egypt, out of their bondage there. How he had provided for them during their wilderness journey, in spite of their grumbling and unfaithfulness. And Moses especially goes over how the Lord had made a covenant with them at Sinai, giving them the Torah, the Law, a way of life that would mark them out as being God’s holy people. The Lord gave them his law as a blessing. It truly is the best way for his people to live. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That pretty much sums it up.

The Lord gave Israel his law in the form of the Ten Commandments. Moses got them straight from the Lord on Mount Sinai and brought them down to the people. He had gone over these things with Israel time and again. And he told them to pass these words on to their children, to talk about them when they get up in morning and walk along the road and go to bed at night.

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Published in: on October 6, 2018 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Gospel in the Garden” (Genesis 3:8-15)

Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 10, 2018

“The Gospel in the Garden” (Genesis 3:8-15)

Did you know you have an adversary out to get you? A very strong adversary, too strong for you to handle on your own? You do. He’s out to get you, to destroy you, body and soul. And you would be powerless to overcome him on your own. You need help–big help, the kind only God can provide. Or else you would be lost, damned and condemned forever. You need this help day by day, every day, for your enemy will never give up on trying to take you down.

But the good news is, you have this help, this big rescue, in the form of a Redeemer sent from God. He is stronger than the strong enemy who is out to get you. In fact, he has crushed him in the head. Lean on this strong Redeemer, day by day, and you will be safe from your enemy’s attacks, saved and safe now and for eternity.

This is the message of our lessons today. It started back in the garden. And it was fulfilled in the coming of God’s Son, born the seed of the woman. Our brother Jesus has won the victory over our enemy. The promise was given way back in the garden, when man and woman first fell into sin. But in the aftermath of that tragic fall, our gracious God gave a wonderful promise of a Savior to come. It is, as we’ll hear about now, “The Gospel in the Garden.”

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Published in: on June 10, 2018 at 12:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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“A Tale of Two Trees” (Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-24)

Midweek Lenten Evening Prayer
Wednesday, February 25, 2015

“A Tale of Two Trees” (Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-24)

This is “A Tale of Two Trees.” Oh, there were a whole bunch of other trees besides, lots of them, but this story will focus on just two.

Our story begins back in the garden, the garden of Eden, that is. There the Lord God had formed the man from the dust of the earth, and he gave the man the authority and the responsibility to take care of it. The Lord was very generous toward the man, withholding nothing, providing him with everything he needed, in abundance. There were lots and lots of trees in this garden, all sorts of trees that were nice to look at and good for food.

Now there were two trees in the middle of the garden that were especially important. One was called the tree of life, and the other was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These are the two trees our tale is focused on.

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Published in: on February 25, 2015 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Something in the Water” (Mark 1:4-11; Romans 6:1-11; Genesis 1:1-5)

The Baptism of Our Lord
Sunday, January 11, 2015

“Something in the Water” (Mark 1:4-11; Romans 6:1-11; Genesis 1:1-5)

I don’t listen to pop music or country music on the radio, but recently I read that there is a song that’s popular on the airwaves right now that makes some references to baptism. That caught my attention, naturally, so I looked it up and listened to it online. It’s a song called “Something in the Water,” by a singer named Carrie Underwood. I don’t know if you’ve heard it or not. But it does have to do with baptism. Now very likely it’s coming from a theological perspective on baptism we wouldn’t agree with entirely, but even so, it’s surprising that a song about baptism would even make it on the charts, much less be a big hit.

Let me tell you a little about this song, in case you haven’t heard it. Miss Underwood starts out by singing about a conversation she had with someone who, in the midst of his frustrations, had followed a preacher man down to the river and now, he says, he’s changed, he’s stronger, “there must’ve been something in the water.” Then Carrie herself, the singer, says that one night, when she was out of hope, cried out to God and felt his love pouring down. So she then “got washed in the water, washed in the blood.” And now, Carrie says, “I’m changed, I’m stronger, there must be something in the water.” And so the song proceeds.

Well, good. It’s refreshing to see a song that at least alludes to the Christian faith make it big on the airwaves. While this song “Something in the Water” doesn’t use the word “baptism,” and it doesn’t mention Christ by name, the song is nice as far as it goes, I suppose. But it only scratches the surface. I don’t know, can you scratch the surface of water? In any case, today I would like to take us deeper into the water of Holy Baptism. Yes, there is “Something in the Water”–a number of things, actually–so let’s find out what they are.

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Published in: on January 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Miracle of Faith” (Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
August 11, 2013

“The Miracle of Faith” (Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16)

Sometimes I think about the impossibility of faith. I mean, if you stop and think about all the things that are working against faith, it’s amazing that any of us have it. To believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and all that that involves, to trust in the goodness and the promises of God, in spite of all that would cause us to not believe–it’s simply amazing. And so today we’re going to talk about “The Miracle of Faith.”

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Published in: on August 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The LORD Will Provide” (Genesis 22:1-18)

First Sunday in Lent
February 26, 2012

“The LORD Will Provide” (Genesis 22:1-18)

Our text today is the Old Testament Reading, from Genesis 22, the account of “The Binding of Isaac,” as it is often called. The binding of Isaac, upon an altar, by his father Abraham, at the direction of the Lord God, for the purpose of offering up Isaac as a sacrifice. God tested Abraham, to the limit, in this ordeal. God tested Abraham to see if he would believe that God would really keep his promise that Isaac would be his heir, the son of promise. And, by God’s grace and strength, Abraham passed the test and kept the faith. What Abraham discovered, and what we too will learn from this account, is that the Lord does indeed keep his promises, sometimes in surprising ways. Today with Abraham we will see that, when it comes to fulfilling his promise and meeting our greatest need, “The LORD Will Provide.”

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Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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