One Thing

[Inspired by Luke 10:38-42]

One thing and one thing only,
that is all that’s required,
for with Jesus the Savior,
You will never be lonely.

You don’t need to add to this.
No works, no deeds, no actions.
Jesus is all that you need,
To enjoy eternal bliss.

For God’s grace is sufficient.
There’s nothing else that’s needed.
Attempts to self-justify,
will always be deficient.

So focus your attention,
and away from your attempts.
Jesus has finished the work,
to release all your tension.

Overflow

This is part of the Holy Communion liturgy that I wrote based on the preaching text, Luke 10:25-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan…

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 Christ Jesus our Lord. For through Jesus’ death and resurrection, You have shown mercy and compassion to an unclean, sinful and lost people. You did not pass us by, but You have bandaged our wounds of sin and have brought healing to our souls. You have given us a home for which we long. You have given us hope. May our hearts be filled with Your love, so much so, that it overflows into acts of compassion and mercy to our neighbor; as we walk humbly with You. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…

A Walk in a Park

The sermon for this morning is from Luke 9:57-62. This is about the call to follow Jesus. It is a very timely message for the congregation I am serving. The following is the opening paragraph to the sermon that God has placed on my heart. The video of the whole sermon will be posted on the church website this week. To God be the glory!

I saw an internet meme recently that said, “Raising kids is like a walk in the park – Jurassic Park.” We chuckle, but there’s a lot of truth to that. One could also substitute “Following Jesus” for “Raising kids”, and still chuckle; understanding that the meaning is still the same. You see, following Jesus is not easy. Following Jesus is not simply a peaceful walk in a beautiful park. Following Jesus has twists and turns; hills and valleys; roadblocks and straightaways. Following Jesus requires the faith of the father in Mark’s Gospel who says to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Jesus calls you to follow – now – and not to look back. But as you follow him, he also walks along side to encourage you along the way. You must never follow Jesus with rose colored glasses but understand what a life is discipleship requires: Faith. For if following Jesus were really that easy, don’t you think more people would be doing it?

Plowing Forward

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Luke 9:62 ESV]

When Jesus calls you to follow, he is not looking for excuses.
When Jesus calls you to follow, he doesn’t mean finish your to-do-list first.
When Jesus calls you to follow, you are not to long for that which you left.
When Jesus calls you to follow, you are to follow with eyes wide open and focused on him.

For when Jesus calls you to follow, he is to be the priority above everything and everyone else. Yours eyes are to be firmly fixed on him; moving forward without hesitation. But why is this such a struggle for people? Why do people cling to what they have or look back at what they left? It is simple, really. They don’t truly trust that Jesus knows what he is talking about. When times got tough for the people of God that Moses was leading in the wilderness, what did they do? They started to long for their captivity in Egypt. This didn’t sit well with God (to put it mildly). God demanded trust and so does Jesus when he calls you to follow.

When you begin to follow Jesus but keeping looking back at what you left, you quickly veer off course. Jesus words about the hand on the plow and looking back are poignant. If you are plowing a field, your eyes need to be focused on a fixed object on the horizon, otherwise your row will be crocked – every single time. You WILL go off course.

Jesus is the fixed object on the horizon – AND – is the one who walks by your side. When He calls you to follow, trust the fixed destination and the one who walks with you. When your eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus you will never, ever go of course. The course may get bumpy and scary and troublesome. But come on, people, it’s Jesus. He’s got this.

When you put your hand on the plow and move forward with Jesus, keep going and do not look back. I promise you, you will not regret it and will never miss what you left.

Salvation and Submission

This is part of the Great Thanksgiving liturgy in the service of Holy Communion that I wrote for this morning. The inspiration comes from the Gospel text, Luke 8:26-39. 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, Kings of kings and Lord of lords.
You reign supreme over all creation, yet you are closer to us than we are to ourselves.
You are a God that knows our hearts better than we know ourselves.
You know our deepest and darkest secrets.
You know our longings.
You demand obedience.
You demand submission.
You demand holiness.
Yet, we fall short continually. We are sinners, but you are a God that saves. You have redeemed our lives through Jesus Christ; conquering the demon of sin. You have freed us and cleansed us. You have prepared our home. For this reason, we go and proclaim all that You have done for us. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we join in singing Your unending praise…

Bold Witnesses

Today is Ascension Sunday and thus I will be preaching on Luke 24:44-53. The following is the Great Thanksgiving liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion with this context in mind. Stand firm for the Truth and never, ever shrink back in fear…

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. You have shown us Your glory through Your son Jesus Christ.
You have opened our eyes to the Truth.
You have cradled us in Your arms.
You have given us hope.
Oh God, Creator and Redeemer, through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection we rest secure. My we live as bold witnesses of that Truth that others may come to know You as their Lord and God. May we not shrink back but stand firm; ready to die if called to do so. And so, since we have such a sure and certain hope we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Subpoenaed

Sunday, June 2 is Ascension Sunday and the text that I will be preaching on is Luke 24:44-53. The following is the opening paragraph of the sermon that God is laying on my heart. If you want the rest, you can now watch the sermon on our congregation’s website at: http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com.
The sermon should be posted next week sometime. In the mean time, here is a little sermon teaser for you…

Shortly before his ascension, Jesus issues a subpoena (You are witnesses to these things) to all who know the Father as revealed in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Subpoena is to testify to the Truth. It is not something that someone chooses. You don’t choose to be witness but rather you become one and thus are called and commanded to testify. Your testimony is not to be about your opinions or theories. You are not called to speculate or guess. You are called to testify to the Truth. The facts of the matter. And the facts are this, thus saith the Lord, Jesus has suffered and died and rose from the dead for the forgiveness of sins. He has ascended and is seated on the right hand of the Father. He WILL come again to judge the living and the dead. Amen? These are the facts. Now, what say you?

The Cornerstone

The following is the Great Thanksgiving preface that I wrote for the Holy Communion liturgy for today. I was inspired by the Gospel text from Luke 20:9-18; the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. A church not built on Jesus will surely fall…

It is indeed right and salutary
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you,
oh God,
holy, mighty and awesome.
You built the Church on the foundation of Jesus,
Your anointed and only Son.
Through faith in him our sins have been forgiven
and thus we have been clothed in righteousness
and are justified in Your sight.
Oh God,
what an awesome thing to be at peace with You
and in You
for all eternity.
And so we shout out Alleluias each and every day
as we recall your amazing grace.
And so we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Found

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 almighty.
You sent Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost.
He stopped at nothing to reach lost sinners.
He defied the authorities.
He defied the world.
He defied death.
We were lost, but now we are found.
We were without hope but now we celebrate.
We were without meaning, but now we are in Your family; defined by You. We were dead, but now we are alive.
Oh God,
You settled for nothing short of finding lost sinners.
And so we worship You;
joining with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Parable of the Lost Coffee Thermos

The following is dangerously close to being sacrilegious so please read with tongue in cheek (based on true events that actually happened to me recently)…

“Or what man, having a rockstar coffee thermos, if he loses it, does not search diligently his home and office, and even the Starbucks across the street until he finds it? And when he has found it, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coffee thermos that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents…and definitely over the found coffee thermos.”
[Luke 15:8-10…or something close to it]

The lost has been found!