“Three Saints of Advent: St. Andrew, Apostle” (John 1:35-42a; Matthew 4:18-20)

Midweek Advent Evening Prayer
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

“Three Saints of Advent: St. Andrew, Apostle” (John 1:35-42a; Matthew 4:18-20)

When churches have midweek Advent or Lenten services, usually the pastor tries to come up with a theme that will tie the services together. This year, in looking at the calendar for Advent, I noticed something about the dates for our midweek services. The first three Wednesdays are November 30, December 7, and December 14. Which got me to thinking: November 30 is the Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle. December 7 is the Commemoration of St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan and one of the great Church Fathers. December 14 is . . . well, December 14 isn’t anything special, but it does occur right after the Second and Third Sundays in Advent, when St. John the Baptist is featured prominently. So there you go. Thus our theme for this year’s midweek Advent services: “Three Saints of Advent: Andrew, Ambrose, and John the Baptist.”


Published in: on November 30, 2022 at 6:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“A Reformation in Liturgy and Hymnody” (John 8:31-36)

Reformation Day (Observed)
Sunday, October 30, 2022

“A Reformation in Liturgy and Hymnody” (John 8:31-36)

Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Friends, this is really what the Reformation was all about: that people would abide in the living, life-giving word of Christ; that they would know the truth of the gospel, which had been obscured by the errors that had crept into the church; and that this truth would set people free from the slavery they had been laboring under. Luther himself had labored under that slavery, and when he discovered the freeing truth of the gospel, he bent every effort toward wanting others to know the freedom that is theirs in Christ. The whole Reformation was geared toward that end. And it meant reforming every area of church life that had been infected by those enslaving errors. It meant bringing the truth to light in every aspect where it had been clouded over.

Today we are the recipients and beneficiaries of that great Reformation program. And one of the prime ways in which we enjoy that rich heritage is in what we are doing right here in this church service. For today, on this Reformation Sunday, we will see what benefits are ours, precisely because the Lutheran Reformation included, very prominently, “A Reformation in Liturgy and Hymnody.”


Published in: on October 29, 2022 at 11:03 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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“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 Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding” (John 2:1-11)

Second Sunday after the Epiphany
January 16, 2022

“The Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding” (John 2:1-11)

“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.” It was a sign. The thing about a sign is, you need to be able to read it and know what it means. A sign points to something beyond itself. So, what does this sign point to? What does it tell us? Let’s find out now, about “The Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding.”


Published in: on January 15, 2022 at 9:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Eleutherios: Free Indeed!” (John 8:31-36)

Reformation Day
Sunday, October 31, 2021

“Eleutherios: Free Indeed!” (John 8:31-36)

Today, October 31, along with millions of other Christians around the world, we are celebrating Reformation Day. Why? What’s so special about this day? Well, 504 years ago, on October 31, 1517, Dr. Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses against the sale of indulgences on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. And what Luther did that day started the movement known as the Reformation, which corrected many bad practices that had crept into the church. Ever since, we observe the last Sunday in October as Reformation Day, and we thank God for using Luther to bring the pure gospel back to light.

October 31, 1517, marked the beginning of a change for the better in the church. At the same time, Luther recognized that the gospel of Christ had made a change in him. And so, starting in November of 1517 and for a couple of years thereafter, in some of his letters to his friends, Luther would sign his letters with a change in his name. He signed them as “Martinos Eleutherios.” Why did he do that? Let’s find out now, under the theme, “Eleutherios: Free Indeed!”


Published in: on October 30, 2021 at 9:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“This Is a Hard Saying” (John 6:60-69)

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
August 22, 2021

“This Is a Hard Saying” (John 6:60-69)

For the last couple of weeks, the Holy Gospel has been Jesus’ famous “Bread of Life” discourse from John chapter 6.  And last week I preached on the appointed text, under the theme, “Eat This Bread and Live Forever.”  But last week I only got through the first half of that text.  What I didn’t get to was the reaction to what Jesus said.  And that’s what I want to take up this morning.  And so our sermon text today is what is printed in your bulletin, namely, John 6, verses 60 through 69, as follows:

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”  But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?  Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.”  (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)  And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.  So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”


Published in: on August 21, 2021 at 7:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Eat This Bread and Live Forever” (John 6:51-69)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
August 15, 2021

“Eat This Bread and Live Forever” (John 6:51-69)

The world’s oldest living person is a woman in Japan by the name of Kane Tanaka. She is 118 years old. She has held the title of oldest living person for over three years, which is unusually long for someone to be the world’s oldest living person. Usually, they relinquish the title before that long. What is Miss Tanaka’s secret? “Eating delicious food and studying,” she says. Her nurses say, “She has a strong appetite and likes eating chocolate and drinking Coke.” Well, I have a strong appetite, I like eating delicious food, including chocolate, and I do a lot of studying. But maybe I should take up drinking Coke.

Then there’s the world’s oldest male, Emilio Flores Márquez of Puerto Rico. He just turned 113 one week ago. Señor Márquez says of his life: “My father raised me with love and taught me to love everyone. He always told me and my brothers and sisters to do good, to share everything with others. Besides, Christ lives in me.”


Published in: on August 14, 2021 at 9:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“A Christmas Carol” (John 6:51-58)

Funeral Service
Saturday, August 14, 2021

“A Christmas Carol” (John 6:51-58)

One of the first things you notice about Carol’s obituary is the date of her birth: December 25, 1940. Carol was born on Christmas Day! It was like God was sending us a nice Christmas present that we all could enjoy for the next 80+ years. She was a true “Christmas Carol,” and the music was sweet indeed!


Published in: on August 14, 2021 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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