“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.

(more…)

Published in: on June 25, 2022 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on June 18, 2022 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on June 11, 2022 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on June 4, 2022 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on May 28, 2022 at 7:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on May 26, 2022 at 11:24 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on May 21, 2022 at 10:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on May 14, 2022 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on May 7, 2022 at 1:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

“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.”

(more…)

Published in: on April 30, 2022 at 6:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,