“The Poor Man and Rich Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31)

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 25, 2022

“The Poor Man and Rich Lazarus” (Luke 16:19-31)

Our text today is the story commonly known as “The Rich Man and Poor Lazarus.” But I’m going to suggest to you today that we could just as well call this story “The Poor Man and Rich Lazarus.” As we shall see. So let’s go.

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Published in: on September 24, 2022 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“God’s Open, Narrow Door” (Luke 13:22-30)

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
August 21, 2022

“God’s Open, Narrow Door” (Luke 13:22-30)

In our text today, someone asks Jesus a question: “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” Well, that seems like a reasonable question, something you might ask a visiting rabbi. An interesting academic question, to be sure: “Are only a few people going to be saved?”

But what was the question behind the question? Why did the guy ask this? Let’s consider the possibilities. Was it just idle curiosity, like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” Could be. Or maybe this fellow thinks God is too loose, letting in all the riff-raff he sees hanging around Jesus. A righteous God shouldn’t be that soft in his justice.

On the other hand, perhaps he asks his question in order to put God on trial. Maybe he thinks God is too strict. If God were really a decent God, he would let everybody in. You know, there are lots of people who think that way today. “God wouldn’t dare to send anybody to hell! The God I believe in wouldn’t do that!” That’s how people think today.

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Published in: on August 20, 2022 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Do Not Be Anxious about Your Life” (Luke 12:22-34)

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
August 7, 2022

“Do Not Be Anxious about Your Life” (Luke 12:22-34)

In the Holy Gospel for today, Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about your life.” Really, Jesus? Are you kidding me? “Do not be anxious”?? How can you say that? I mean, look at my life. There’s so much to be anxious about! Take my personal finances, for instance. Since January 1, year-to-date, in just seven months my individual retirement accounts are down almost $9,000. And this, for an individual approaching retirement! In these past seven months, I’ve had to buy a new phone and a new used car. During this same time, I’ve had to have a health checkup, dental work, and two eye surgeries, which were not all covered by insurance. Gas, groceries, rent–all up, substantially. Inflation this year has been the highest it’s been in decades. Well, you get the picture. And for many of you, the picture has been equally as bleak.

And what about all the people in our area who have suffered major losses from the torrential downpours and the flash flooding of the last couple of weeks? Are you going to tell them to cheer up and put on a happy face? How in the world could Jesus say, “Do not be anxious about your life”? Was he just being the Pollyanna of Palestine? Out of touch with reality?

No, far from it. In fact, Jesus was and is very much in touch with reality. It’s just that he sees a far greater reality than we often take into account. He sees the bigger picture, both for our present life and for our eternal future. And so now let’s see what Jesus sees and takes into account when he tells us, “Do Not Be Anxious about Your Life.”

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Published in: on August 6, 2022 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Distracted Discipleship and the One Thing Needful” (Luke 10:38-42)

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
July 17, 2022

“Distracted Discipleship and the One Thing Needful” (Luke 10:38-42)

Are you anxious and troubled about many things? Does your busy-ness distract you from the one thing needful? If so, join the club. That’s where I find myself all too often. But if that’s you too, then our message today is what you need to hear. For Jesus is in the house today, and when Jesus speaks, we need to listen. And so our theme this morning: “Distracted Discipleship and the One Thing Needful.”

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Published in: on July 16, 2022 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37)

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
July 10, 2022

“The Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37)

Our text is the Holy Gospel for today, from Luke chapter 10. It’s the parable of “The Good Samaritan.” And, as often happens, there’s something that happens in real life that leads Jesus to tell this or that parable. On this occasion, it’s an interaction Jesus has with a certain lawyer in the crowd. Now when it says “lawyer” here, it’s not talking about the kind of lawyer you see advertising their law office on a billboard or TV commercial. It’s not the kind of prosecuting or defense attorney you see portrayed on TV shows or movies. No, when it says “lawyer” here, it’s talking about an expert in the Law of Moses. This would be a Jewish scholar who knows all the moral, civic, and ceremonial laws of ancient Israel, as found in the books of Moses.

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Published in: on July 9, 2022 at 11:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Peace Be to This House!” (Luke 10:1-20)

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
July 3, 2022

“Peace Be to This House!” (Luke 10:1-20)

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Yes, peace to you! Peace be to this house! That’s what Jesus told me to tell you, isn’t it? He sends out his laborers into the harvest field and instructs them, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’” So today, the first thing I want to say to you is what Jesus told me to tell you: Peace be to this house.

Friends, today I want to tell you why you need this peace and what kind of peace it is. I want to tell you where this peace comes from and how it gets to you. And I want you to know how you can be sure that you have this peace. So our theme this morning: “Peace Be to This House!”

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Published in: on July 1, 2022 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Lifting Up His Hands He Blessed Them” (Luke 24:44-53)

The Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday, May 26, 2022

“Lifting Up His Hands He Blessed Them” (Luke 24:44-53)

Reading again from the Holy Gospel for the Ascension of Our Lord, from Luke 24: “Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.” Today we consider those hands of Jesus, the hands with which he blessed his disciples, as he ascended into heaven. For what Jesus did back then, he does for us, too. And so our theme on this Ascension Day: “Lifting Up His Hands He Blessed Them.”

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Published in: on May 26, 2022 at 11:24 am  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.”

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Published in: on April 16, 2022 at 3:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Evil Friday Is Also Good Friday” (Luke 23:44-56)

Good Friday
April 15, 2022

“Evil Friday Is Also Good Friday” (Luke 23:44-56)

The theme for our Lenten journey this year has been “You Meant It for Evil, But God Meant It for Good.” We have seen how God can just plain grab something evil and use it for good, in his larger plan. No one could see it at the time, but that’s how God works.

We see God working this way in our reading tonight from Luke 23. Something evil was happening on the day our Lord Jesus was crucified. But God used it for good–for incredible, tremendous good–which is why call this day “Good Friday.” And so our message tonight: “Evil Friday Is Also Good Friday.”

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Published in: on April 15, 2022 at 2:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Eternal Passover That Jesus Desired to Eat” (Luke 22:14-20)

Holy (Maundy) Thursday
April 14, 2022

“The Eternal Passover That Jesus Desired to Eat” (Luke 22:14-20)

During this season of Lent, we’ve tried to be realistic as we learn again to trust our God. The realism has to do with evil–the evil that betrayed, condemned, and crucified Jesus long ago, and the evil in our world and in our lives also today. In the face of that evil, we trust our God and the plan he carried out in Christ. We can say to Satan, to the world, and even to ourselves, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

This evening’s service is a break in the action in a way. It’s because of the gift that the Lord Jesus created that night long ago in the upper room. This is a night to be quietly joyful. It’s a night to marvel at what happened when Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples and to marvel at the gift that has come down also to us.

Jesus said to them that night, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you.” That was a particular ritual at a particular moment in a particular place. But it was also an eternal Passover. By “eternal” I mean that it was not isolated, disconnected, alone, or even limited. For the Jews, Passover gathered up and brought to fruition so many things from the past, from the exodus, and the past gave meaning to the present. But that particular moment in the upper room, with Jesus, was part of the most significant event in the history of the world. History was turning a corner that night. And from that Passover came a new gift for the future, a gift that would last until tonight and until the Lord returns in glory. It happened the night that Jesus was betrayed–past, present, and future, all coming together in “The Eternal Passover That Jesus Desired to Eat.”

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Published in: on April 14, 2022 at 12:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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