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…

Believing

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
[John 20:29 ESV]

Believing isn’t seeing,
it is knowing that the unbelievable;
that which doesn’t make sense,
is not only believable but,
true.
Believing isn’t trusting your senses,
but it is knowing in your heart;
your heart of hearts,
that which your senses can’t confirm is
true.
Believing is leaping from a precipice
into the unknown,
defying the screaming voice within;
the voice staying, “you will die, this is
true.”
Believing is shutting that voice out
and jumping; listening to the Spirit;
listening with the ears of faith,
listening to the voice of
Truth.
Believing is falling to your death,
knowing that it means Life;
for the hands of our gracious God,
will keep you in the
Truth.
Believing is a gift,
wrapped in the messiness of the cross,
presented through the empty tomb,
and secured in the Spirit of
Truth.
Yes! Yes! I believe! Jesus Christ lives, and that is the
truth.

Hosanna!

The following is the opening paragraph to Sunday’s Palm Sunday sermon. A little sermon teaser for you 🙂

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” [John 12:13]

“Save us now”, is the cry of the day. Hosanna! Blessed be Jesus, the Son of God. Blessed be Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Blessed be his name forever and ever. Amen. For Jesus comes at the will of our Holy God and Father. Jesus comes as King and Redeemer. Jesus comes to set his people free. Jesus comes to save…NOW. Hosanna! Jesus came to save miserable wretches and sinners such as you and me. He came to free those who can not free themselves. Jesus came as Messiah, not to give us our “best life now”, but to give us our best life later. Now, we live in hope; being at peace with God. Blessed be Jesus, the Son of God. Blessed be his name forever and ever…

The rest of the sermon (audio only) will be posted on my congregation’s website later.

Have a blessed Holy Week.