Sermon teaser for Palm Sunday

Here is the opening paragraph for this Sunday’s sermon. May God be glorified…

The holy bookends of Palm Sunday and Easter, encapsulate a holy drama that ends in a sure and certain hope through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus rides into Jerusalem as the king of peace, is later mocked as the King of the Jews and then bursts through as the victorious King; one who obliterates sin, death and the power of Satan. We enter this morning in jubilation but leave somber and reflective as we contemplate the events of Holy Week. We enter worship this morning shouting, “Hosanna” which means “save us now” and leave hearing how Jesus does just that. The scope of this day is a microcosm of the holiest week of the year but may we not be satisfied with only this, rather, may we encounter the Passion of Jesus Christ anew as we listen to our salvation unfold and the power of death crumble into oblivion.

May God bless you as you journey through Holy Week; coming through the darkness and emerging into the Light of Easter morning.

The Pastor -|—

The Mission

Holy God,
what a relief it is that my
strength,
abilities,
knowledge,
credentials,
and the like
are not what you are looking for
to advance the kingdom of heaven.
As Luther said in his sacristy prayer,
“if it were left up to me I would surely bring it all to ruin”.
That is so true.
Rather,
you call the unqualified to proclaim Your Good News;
qualifying us through the Holy Spirit.
May we keep our eyes on You
and not turn inward; thinking either
“I am not qualified” and thus turn away from the mission,
or think,
“I am pretty good” and thus focus on our abilities; derailing the mission.
Holy God,
through Jesus Christ You redeemed us and empowered us.
May we not abandon the mission
but rather proclaim from the mountain top,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
All praise, honor, glory and worship be unto You,
oh God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen!

The Pastor -|—

The Call

Holy Father,
through Jesus Christ,
You call us to follow and to make disciples
despite the fact that we are sinners;
unqualified.
But You qualify the unqualified;
sending us out to do important work;
announcing that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Oh God,
may we remember
that it’s not about our abilities or knowledge
but rather about Your Spirit giving us what we need.
May we never disqualify ourselves
but rather trust in You,
who qualifies the unqualified,
and that all quality is of Your doing.
And through the quality of Your work in and through us,
may the quantity grow to Your glory.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Qualified

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
[Matthew 4:18-20]

Think about it for a second (or two), Jesus called a group of unqualified men to follow him and be the beginning of the Church. No small task, so one would think Jesus would look for only the best. But Jesus doesn’t ask for a resume or a list of references. He doesn’t quiz them to check their knowledge of scripture. He doesn’t inquire about any advanced degrees. Jesus simply approaches these men and says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men“. Their only qualification was their un-qualification. JESUS made them qualified to be fishers of men. It wasn’t about oratory skills or knowledge or street smarts or financial savvy. It was only about Jesus. He called, they followed and once Jesus died and rose, the Holy Spirit guided them into all Truth.

And so think about it again. If Jesus can use a group of unqualified men to continue a movement of sorts, don’t you think that Jesus can do something amazing through you. Never think that you are unqualified to follow Jesus or be a leader in the church. If you are called, then you are qualified. Just trust in him and follow.

Awesome God,
You called a group of unqualified fishermen
to walk with Jesus
and to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
As Your Spirit led those first disciples
may Your Spirit lead us now in serving You in this world.
May we not bow to the temptation
that we are not good enough
but rather trust in You
that we may give glory to Your holy name.
May we leap out in faith when Jesus calls,
and may we go with the strength and courage of the Holy Spirit.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Please Send

Holy Father, loving God,
please send Your Holy Spirit.

Send Your Holy Spirit to reorient my heart.
Send Your Holy Spirit to inflame my passion for You.
Send Your Holy Spirit to renew my soul.
Oh God, send Your Holy Spirit.

Send Your Holy Spirit to embolden your Church.
Send Your Holy Spirit to give courage to Your children.
Send Your Holy Spirit to help us stand firm.
Oh God, send Your Holy Spirit.

Send Your Holy Spirit to still the fears running wild in this world.
Send Your Holy Spirit to open hearts to listen.
Send Your Holy Spirit to douse the hatred taking to the streets.
Oh God, send Your Holy Spirit.

Holy Father, loving God,
We can’t do this life alone.
We can’t seek Your will with our own ears.
We can’t stand strong without Your strength.
Oh God,
please, oh please,
send Your Holy Spirit.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

For Your Glory

Holy God,
we humbly come before You
to praise Your holy name;
to lay our petitions at Your feet,
and to confess our sins.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
receive our praise,
hear our petitions
and grant us forgiveness,
so that,
our lives may be refreshed and strengthened
to live for Your glory.
Send now Your Holy Spirit,
oh God,
to fill us and lead us along our way.
In Jesus Name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Your Spirit

Holy God,

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon us.
Teach us,
remind us,
show us
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon Your Church.
Make it bold with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Make it firm in it’s faith.
Make it knowledgeable of
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon this nation.
Stir hearts.
Renew minds.
Open eyes to
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
that all who call upon Your holy name
may speak of Your Son, Jesus, with
passion and conviction without backing down. May our Gospel proclamation be done with all grace. May our witness shine brightly with Your love. May forgiveness win the day.

Send Your Spirit today
that we may speak to a culture
that has drifted away from You. May our words and actions engage this culture with love without us conforming to this culture.

Send Your Spirit today, oh God.
Heal us.
Draw us to You.
Raise us up to New Life in Jesus Christ.

Send Your Spirit today, oh God,
and send us out in the name of
Jesus.

Amen.

The Pastor -|—