Invited

Today is the Parable of the Great Banquet; Jesus inviting the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame to the table. He invites sinners – you. And so I am excited, once again, to proclaim this Good News this morning – from Luke 14:1-14. The following is the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote with the Gospel text on my heart…

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God – Father, Lord and King. For You have invited and exalted us to the Banquet of the Wedding of the Lamb to his bride, the Church. Though we are sinful, lost and disobedient, You bring us in and make us whole and holy. You make us new through Your Son, Jesus. You give us a place of honor through no effort or merit of our own. You give us Life and hope in a world that would have us fend for ourselves; fighting our way to the top. You have turned things around and thus we can rejoice with You and dine at a Banquet that has no end. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we join in singing Your unending praise…

Striving

The Gospel text that I am preaching on is Luke 13:22-30 ~ strive to enter through the narrow door. May we not strive to serve sin; being workers of evil, but may we strive to know God better through Christ Jesus our Lord. Let us pray…

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. Through Jesus Christ You have saved us from our sins – forgiving an obstinate people. You have redeemed our lives from the pit. You have snatched us from Satan’s grip. Jesus has purchased our very lives through his very own blood. To recount all Your deeds is an impossible task. Oh God, Father and King, grant us Your Spirit that we may live a life of striving that we may not be left knocking on a closed door. May we not seek to cater to our old and dead life but may we seek to give You thanks and worship for the New Life we have through Jesus Christ – for he has striven that we could be saved. And so, with the church earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…

Repent

REPENT for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
REPENT and run away from your sins.
REPENT and never stop running.
REPENT and keep on running,
REPENT!
REPENT and strive to know Jesus better and better.
REPENT and long for God’s holy courts.
REPENT and deny your new self your old life; for you are a New Creation.
REPENT and live the Life God has given you through faith.
REPENT!
REPENT and never stop striving for the narrow door.
REPENT and keep on pressing on.
REPENT and not grow complacent in having already obtained it.
REPENT and refuse to work for your old employer – Satan.
REPENT!

Child of God, through Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven.
Isn’t that awesome!!!
Yes?
Now, REPENT…

Bringing Peace Through Division

The Gospel text for today is Luke 12:49-56. My focus is on verse 51 where Jesus says that he did not come to bring peace but division. Actually, Jesus came to bring peace through division. More can be heard on our congregation’s website after the video of the sermon is posted.

So with that I wrote the following Holy Communion liturgy with the Gospel text in mind. To God be the glory. Amen.

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. Through Jesus Christ You give us peace with You. Through the working of Your Holy Spirit we are being remade. Your Word is life. Your Word is truth. Your Word pierces our soul and will one day divide us from this world as we stand before you purified and holy. Oh God, may we not be seduced by the allure of worldly peace. May it’s beckoning song be ignored. May its deceptive appearance be uncovered. Oh God, we give you thanks that Jesus was born to die that we could have hope and one day live peacefully with You without interruption. And so, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Peace and Division

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. [Luke 12:51 ESV]

Seems like a strange thing for Jesus to say. After all, isn’t he the Prince of Peace? Doesn’t he give peace that surpasses all understanding? When the disciples see him after his resurrection Jesus says, “Peace be with you“. So why would Jesus say something like this? Well, look carefully at what he says, Do you think that I have come to give peace ON EARTH? That’s the distinction. Here on earth, there will be division on account of the Gospel. Jesus didn’t come with the intent to divide people but rather knowing that the Gospel would do just that because people are sinners. In John 15, Jesus warned his disciples that if the world hates him they will hate them. And isn’t that the truth. Yet, many people are so afraid of division. Can’t we all just get along? I am all for getting along with people, but when it comes to the Gospel, we must stand firm. We must respect people. We must love people. We must listen to people. But when it comes to the Gospel, if division occurs, then so be it. It is better to be at odds with the world than with God. Amen? The Gospel will produce division. That we have seen, but don’t mistake what Jesus says. He IS still the Prince of Peace and he DOES give a peace that surpasses all understanding. Standing firm on God’s Word in Jesus name, you can have peace in the midst of division. May your witness then, bring peace to people who are at odds with the Gospel. Amen!

Good Pleasure

The text for preaching this morning is Luke 12:32 where Jesus says that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. It is a rich and Gospel-packed verse and I can hardly wait to preach it this morning. The following is part of the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote with the Gospel text in mind. May it bring glory to God.

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, our Shepherd and Father; for it is Your good pleasure to give us Your kingdom. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, You have saved us from our sins and redeemed us from the clutches of the Evil One. You have placed us in the vault of Your fortress and carved, in granite, our names in the Book of Life. You are the hope in a violent and hate-filled world. You are the Light in the stormy waters. You are the Truth as the Deceiver works overtime to lead Your flock astray. Nothing and no one can stake their claim on Your children. For these reasons, and many more, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Shamelessly Persistent

The following is the opening prayer for the sermon I am preaching on Sunday, July 28. The text is Luke 11:1-13; Jesus teaching the Lord’s Prayer and the story of the persistent friend. To God be the glory. Let us pray…

Good things. That’s what we want, oh God, is good things. But too often those good things that we desire are only for our comfort and peace; for self-glorification. We want healing. We want stuff. We want notoriety. We ask and ask and ask some more. Maybe we even recruit others to ask on our behalf, because, after all, the more who are praying the better our chances. But that’s not how it works. Convict our hearts of this error, oh God. Give us understanding. Give us intimacy. Give us Your good gifts. We ask but we are too short-sighted. We long for something and become idolatrous. Forgive us, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Give us your good gifts. Through faith in Jesus Christ, may we long for the gift that only You can give. And thus, may we be shamelessly persistent in our prayer for the good gift of You. Now may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, oh God, our rock and Redeemer. Amen.