Making a Name

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate and recognize the giving of the Holy Spirit 50 days after Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. This is also the birth of the Church as the Spirit would send those first missionaries out to share the Good News of Jesus Christ; proclaiming a peace that surpasses all understanding. This is a day about God making a name for us; a name sealed forever in the Book of Life.

Below, is the opening paragraph to the sermon I will be preaching this morning. If you want to watch the rest, I invite you to visit our church website (link on the right hand side of this page) or go to YouTube and search for “Living Word Lutheran Church, Puyallup, WA). The sermon should be posted later today or early in the week. The sermon text is based in Acts 2:1-21, but I will be starting in Genesis 11:1-9 as I reference the Tower of Babel.

To God be the glory!!!

John 14:27, Jesus says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. And this fear thing is what people in this world are trying to deal with. They do this through many means, but mainly, through making a name for themselves. Through unity of purpose and thought; through being connected to a group or community of people, many hope to find intimacy, but what they find is a tower that has fallen into a heap of rumble. The only true peace and intimacy that will last, not just through this life, but for all eternity, is what we have with God through Jesus Christ as Paul tells us in Romans 5. It is a peace and intimacy, a purpose and belonging that is only made known through the Helper, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is that moment and manifestation for the believer.

Overcoming

The following is the preface to the Great Thanksgiving for Holy Communion that I wrote. It was inspired by the Gospel text (sermon text), John 16:25-33 — Jesus overcoming the world. To God be the glory!

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, King of all creation. Through Jesus Christ You did battle with Satan and totally obliterated his reign in this world. You destroyed his grip on Your children; redeeming us from the pit. You gave us a victory that we could not hope to achieve on our own. Oh God, lover of our souls, You were pleased to reveal Your glory to us through Jesus Christ and what an awesome glory it is. It is for that reason that we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Troubled Heart One

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
[John 14:1 ESV]

Oh, why do you have a troubled heart?
Why do you worry about tomorrow?
Why do you worry about this life?
Oh troubled heart one,
Why do you get anxious about trivial things?
Why do you obsess about that which you can not change?
Why do you fear this world?
Oh, why are you so troubled?
Why?
Do you not trust Me?
Do you not understand that I have overcome this world?
Have you forgotten how much I love you?
My child,
There is nothing I can not handle.
There is no trouble too big.
There is no challenge too difficult.
There is no obstacle too tall.
There is no opponent too strong.
I can handle it.
So why is your heart troubled?
Do you need a reminder, well, do you?
Look at the cross – look at the tomb of Jesus,
What do you see?
Nothing?
That’s because Jesus has risen.
I have overcome the world.
Through Jesus, I have overcome the world for you.
Now, let’s discuss this troubled heart thing, shall we 🙂

Joy Unending

The following is the preface to the Great Thanksgiving for Holy Communion that I wrote for this morning. The inspiration is from the Gospel text, John 16:16-24. To God be the glory!

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, for through the death of Jesus Christ you tore away the veil that separated us from You. Through Jesus’ resurrection You crushed the reign of Satan through the forgiveness of our sins. Now, through the Holy Spirit, we live in joy. Continue to draw us closer to You that we may know this joy more and more as we anxiously await the consummation of Your Kingdom, the coming of Your Son. And so, as we long to dine with You at Your Great Banquet table we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise.

Secure

The following is the preface for the Great Thanksgiving in the Holy Communion liturgy for today (based on the Gospel text from Jon 10:22-30)…

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, Maker of all things. Through Jesus Christ You have brought us into Your eternal Kingdom, giving us a security and peace like nothing the world can offer. You hold us firmly in Your loving hands, where no thing or no one can touch us. You keep us free from all harm. Though the body is fragile and wastes away, our soul is kept perfectly in Your care. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…

All I Need

The following is the opening paragraph for the sermon I plan to give on Sunday, May 12 on John 10:22-30 using a bit of Psalm 23. If you want to hear the full sermon, stop by Living Word Lutheran Church on Sunday or check out our website later for the audio file. To God be the glory!

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The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, for He is everything I need. The first part of that sentence you recognize as the opening of the beloved Psalm 23. It headlines a beautiful Psalm of salvation; describing the peace we have because of God: Green pastures, still waters, restoration for the weary, security in darkness, evil forces irrelevant, sustenance, bounteous provision and a place prepared especially for you forever. This peace is something we have by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It is a peace secured by God’s love and faithfulness. This peace assures us of the forgiveness of sins and thus peace with God. And this is the Truth that we can cling to for it has been stamped and sealed with the blood of the Lamb. This beloved Psalm also details a future that can not be altered by those who would oppose God, not even you. No one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28) And therefore, through faith in Jesus, you WILL dwell in the house of the Lord forever. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, for He is everything I need. Do you hear his voice? Are you truly following?

The Gift

This is the Great Thanksgiving liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion today, based on the preaching text from John 20:19-29…

It is indeed right and salutary
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you,
oh God,
Creator of life.
Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ died on the cross
and rose from the dead that our sins would be forgiven.
This is awesome and incredible news,
but also unbelievable to our human brains.
For one thing we are sinners worthy of condemnation
and secondly dead people don’t come back to life.
But all thanks and praise to You
that You have given us the gift of Your Holy Spirit
that we can believe this Good News;
that Jesus is alive,
and thus be saved.
And so we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven
in singing Your unending praise…