“Freedom, Flesh, and Fruit” (Galatians 5:1, 13-25)

Third Sunday after Pentecost
June 26, 2022

“Freedom, Flesh, and Fruit” (Galatians 5:1, 13-25)

Our text today is the Epistle from Galatians chapter 5. In this text, St. Paul takes up three points that very definitely affect you and the way you live. And they are “Freedom, Flesh, and Fruit”: the freedom we have in Christ; the works of the flesh that we are to put behind us; and the beautiful fruit that the Spirit will produce in our lives. So let’s go.

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Published in: on June 25, 2022 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Adopted as Sons” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Second Sunday after Pentecost
June 19, 2022

“Adopted as Sons” (Galatians 3:23 – 4:7)

Today is Father’s Day. Some of us here have a father we can honor and thank today. Some of us, though–our fathers are long gone. In my case, for instance, my father, LeRoy Henrickson, was born 103 years ago this past Friday. But he died when I was just a baby, so I only had one Father’s Day with him. I don’t know what it’s like to have a father you grow up with and have still around when you’re an adult, but I bet it’s pretty cool.

Whatever your situation is, whether you still have a dad to spend time with or not, today I want to assure you that you do have a Father to honor and thank and spend time with today and every day, really. And that, of course, is your heavenly Father. Our earthly fathers, fallible sinners though they are–nevertheless, our earthly fathers are to model and be a picture of the warmth and care we receive from our dear Father in heaven.

And so, yes, we all are being embraced today by the Father we all have in common. You and I are his dearly beloved children. We are his sons, in fact–all of us are, whether we are male or female. And because we are sons, we are also heirs, in line for an inheritance. We are sons and therefore heirs, because of God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ. My fellow baptized believers in Christ, we all have been “Adopted as Sons.”

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Published in: on June 18, 2022 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“This Is the Catholic Faith” (Athanasian Creed)

The Holy Trinity
Sunday, June 12, 2022

“This Is the Catholic Faith” (Athanasian Creed)

Did you know that we Lutherans are catholic? We are! In fact, you just said so. You did, just now when we all confessed the Athanasian Creed. Don’t worry. I’ll explain. And so our theme on this Holy Trinity Sunday: “This Is the Catholic Faith.”

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Published in: on June 11, 2022 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Centrality of Baptism: On Pentecost and in Your Life” (Acts 2:1-42)

The Day of Pentecost
Sunday, June 5, 2022

“The Centrality of Baptism: On Pentecost and in Your Life” (Acts 2:1-42)

Today is the Day of Pentecost, one of the three great festivals of the Christian church year, along with Christmas and Easter. This festival commemorates the day of Pentecost that we read about in Acts chapter 2. And what happened that day–the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter’s preaching of Christ crucified and risen and repentance and forgiveness in his name–what did that result in? The baptism of 3,000 souls that day. And we even see what happened in the life of the newly baptized in the days that followed: They continued steadfastly in the life of the church.

And so it is for us on this Pentecost day. Today we are gathered in the name of Christ as his baptized people. The Holy Spirit is at work in our midst, working repentance and faith in our hearts, delivering the goods Christ won for us on the cross–all that and more. Then there is the carryover effect of baptism into every day of our lives: dying to sin, rising to newness of life, and having the sure hope of the resurrection. And so our theme this morning: “The Centrality of Baptism: On Pentecost and in Your Life.”

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Published in: on June 4, 2022 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Day Is Drawing Near: Let Us Draw Near, Hold Fast, and Stir Up” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
November 14, 2021

“The Day Is Drawing Near: Let Us Draw Near, Hold Fast, and Stir Up” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

“The day is surely drawing near,” we just sang. And our reading from Hebrews 10 closes with similar words: “as you see the Day drawing near.” What day is that? Let’s find out. And let’s consider what the implications are for us as we see that day approaching. Our text will tell us: “The Day Is Drawing Near: Let Us Draw Near, Hold Fast, and Stir Up.”

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Published in: on November 13, 2021 at 6:51 pm  Comments (1)  
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“Christ, Our Great High Priest” (Hebrews 7:23-28)

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
October 24, 2021

“Christ, Our Great High Priest” (Hebrews 7:23-28)

For a number of weeks now, our Epistle readings have come from the Book of Hebrews. And throughout these readings, Hebrews has been making this major point: All the worship practices of Old Testament Israel, all its religious institutions, were pointing ahead to, and have been fulfilled by, Jesus Christ. The Sabbath rest, the tabernacle, the sacrifices, the priesthood–all these have been fulfilled in an even greater way by Christ.

Take the priesthood, for example, and the office of the high priest, in particular. Our recent readings from Hebrews have made the point that Jesus now is our great high priest. Hebrews 2 told us that Jesus came in order to be “a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 4 said that “we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God.” And so now today, when we come to Hebrews 7, we continue along those same lines, under the theme, “Christ, Our Great High Priest.”

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Published in: on October 23, 2021 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Wealth You Leave and the Wealth You Receive” (Mark 10:23-31)

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
October 17, 2021

“The Wealth You Leave and the Wealth You Receive” (Mark 10:23-31)

Today Jesus speaks to us about wealth. He speaks of the wealth you need to leave in order to enter the kingdom of God. And he speaks of the wealth you receive when you do enter. And so our theme this morning: “The Wealth You Leave and the Wealth You Receive.”

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Published in: on October 16, 2021 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Oh That We Had Meat to Eat!” (Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29)

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 26, 2021

“Oh That We Had Meat to Eat!” (Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29)

“Oh that we had meat to eat!” Oh that we had meat we could afford to buy! Have you looked at the price of meat lately? I have. I was at the grocery store the other day, and the prices for all kinds of meat are very high right now: steak, ground beef, pork, even chicken. It confirmed what I read in a news article recently. Prices for meat have skyrocketed this year. Across the nation, beef prices have surged a whopping 12% over the last year. Pork prices have jumped almost 10%. Chicken, 7%. Looking at those price increases might almost drive one to becoming a vegan. Well, almost. I wouldn’t go that far.

“Oh that we had meat to eat!” But we would not be the first ones to cry that. The ancient Israelites said the same thing back during their wilderness wanderings. And they said it as a complaint against God and against his servant Moses. We heard it in the Old Testament reading for today from Numbers 11. “Now the rabble that was among [the children of Israel] had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.’”

“Oh That We Had Meat to Eat!” Was it just the ancient Israelites who complain like this? Or maybe we do too. Our text today serves as both a warning and an encouragement for us. It’s a warning against ingratitude and unbelief. But it’s also an encouragement for us to find our forgiveness in Christ and to give thanks to God for how he does provide for us.

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Published in: on September 25, 2021 at 9:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Wisdom from Above: Humble Yourself, Serve Others” (James 3:13 – 4:10; Mark 9:30-37)

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 19, 2021

“Wisdom from Above: Humble Yourself, Serve Others” (James 3:13 – 4:10; Mark 9:30-37)

In the Epistle for today, St. James asks, “Who is wise and understanding among you?” Well, I suppose all of us would like to be considered wise and understanding. To have people compliment us on how smart we are and what good decisions we make. And in the Gospel reading for today, Jesus says, “If anyone would be first.” Well, I suppose all of us would like to be first. We like it when we’re in the top spot. To be wise, to be first, to be great–we like it when we achieve those things and are recognized for it.

The only problem is, that’s not the way it goes in God’s kingdom. If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all. That’s counter-intuitive to the ways of this world, where people are pumped up with loads and loads of self-esteem. But in the kingdom of God, lowliness goes along with holiness. Humility and meekness are the virtues that are praised and prized. We’ll see that now from both James and Jesus, under the theme, “Wisdom from Above: Humble Yourself, Serve Others.”

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Published in: on September 18, 2021 at 11:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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“To What Shall We Compare the Tongue?” (James 3:1-12)

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 12, 2021

“To What Shall We Compare the Tongue?” (James 3:1-12)

Do you know you carry around with you, all the time, a very dangerous weapon? It’s not very big, but it can do a lot of damage. And it’s a weapon that can be very hard to control. In fact, you and I quite often do not use it as carefully as we should. What is this dangerous, hard-to-control, little weapon you have on your person? Of course, I’m talking about your tongue. And so is St. James. He’s talking about it, also, in our Epistle reading for today. So let’s look at that now, under the theme: “To What Shall We Compare the Tongue?”

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Published in: on September 11, 2021 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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