The following is the opening paragraph of the sermon I will be preaching on Sunday, October 18 on Matthew 25:14-30 (Parable of the Talents). To God be the glory!
Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, is faithful and true. Jesus Christ, King if kings, reigns on high; one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, the Son of God died for your sins and washed you clean in his blood. Jesus Christ, the bridegroom, is coming to retrieve his bride, the Church. He is faithful and he will do it. To know Jesus is to be in awe of his majesty. To know Jesus is to live in expectation of his glorious return. To know Jesus is to live in freedom and without fear. To know Jesus is to know Life eternal. So do not just know about Jesus, but know him; and live in union with him and justified in God’s eyes. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace who reigns forever and ever, let us pray…
[To see the complete sermon, go to YouTube and search for, “Living Word Lutheran Church – Graham, WA”. It will go live at 9:45 AM (Pacific) and will be saved on the channel]
The waves are monstrous,
The wind is fierce,
And my feeble little boat is no match for this storm.
I try and try, but I make no head way.
I fight and battle but continue to lose ground.
And the storm rages on.
The storm wants to lay claim to this boat –
to bring it down into the deep.
It fights and threatens.
It claws and bites,
and my feeble little boat is no match for this storm.
Jesus, where are you?!?
Wait — you are right here,
in my feeble little boat.
You are right here with me,
as the storm rages on.
Now I am at peace.
Now I can be still and know –
for nothing can touch me
as long as Jesus is in the boat with me –
in this feeble, broken down, little boat.
The storm rages on,
but it will never claim me,
not with Jesus in my boat.
On Your Word I will stand.
On no other place will I plant my flag.
For Jesus is the Word made flesh thus,
To no one but Jesus will I tie my identity;
To no one but Jesus will I cling.
When push comes to shove,
My stand on Your Word will be the hill that I will die upon.
And if I die on that hill,
So be it –
I know my life rests in You.
You are my God and it’s You I will proclaim.
You are my hope in Jesus Christ my Lord.
Many cling to that which does not matter.
May I live in such a way that proclaims that which I stand upon.
Holy God, Father and Creator,
My identity is wrapped in the righteousness of Jesus.
And thus it is Your Word on which I will stand.
It is the hill I will die upon.
To You be all glory, honor, thanks and praise.
In the beautiful name of Jesus I pray,
It saddens me when churches lose their way and stray from THE mission to proclaim Jesus Christ, born, crucified and risen for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus and him alone is our hope. He is our peace. It is Jesus that gives joy that is untouchable. It is through Jesus that we see the full expression of love, for God is love. Therefore, it behooves us to stick to the facts and let everything else fall into place to the glory of God. The Church is not called to get involved in political advocacy. There are groups that specifically do that. The Church is different and needs to stay different:
Preach the Gospel and let the transformed lives of sinners through the Holy Spirit respond to the world around them as God calls them.
Preach the Gospel and don’t tinker with it – it’s perfect the way it is.
Preach the Gospel and don’t try to make it say something it doesn’t say.
Preach the Gospel with all humility and gentleness but also with boldness.
Preach the Gospel and do not fear the backlash from the world.
Preach the Gospel for that is the only way sinners are saved.
Church – stick to the facts and let God be God.
FACT: You are a sinner.
FACT: You cannot save yourself.
FACT: You are a sinner (did I say that already?).
FACT: You deserve eternal torment in hell.
FACT: You are a sinner (yup, this is important).
FACT: Jesus was born of a virgin.
FACT: Jesus is the sinless Son of God.
FACT: Jesus took your sin upon himself.
FACT: Jesus was crucified FOR YOU.
FACT: Jesus died and was buried.
FACT: Jesus smashed the gates of death.
FACT: Jesus lives.
FACT: You are a sinner (just in case you forgot).
FACT: Through faith in Jesus you are forgiven.
FACT: Through God’s grace you are saved.
FACT: This is indisputable.
FACT: God is love.
FACT: This Gospel is awesome!!!
FACT: You are a sinner and thus you need Jesus.
Stick to the FACTS and you’ll be fine.
To God be the glory!!!
Everybody is waiting for something:
Everyone is waiting,
But how time is wasted waiting wrongly?
How much energy is expended?
How much hope is drained?
Wait on Jesus and you won’t be disappointed.
Wait on Jesus
This poem is something I wrote as I prepared a sermon on Romans 10:8-17 — thinking about “beautiful feet” carrying the Gospel. I want people to call on the name of Jesus, but first we need to constantly reacquaint ourselves with the Gospel. So the Spirit placed this on my heart. May you receive this Good News again and again. To God be the glory, Amen.
You are a sinner, that is true.
God’s wrath you’ve certainly accrued.
Condemned to die, yes, you deserve.
A judgment from which you can not swerve.
Salvation you can not obtain.
You can’t do it, i’ll say again.
You need help, you certainly do,
In order to be made brand new.
So, what’s our hope? Well, i’ll proclaim –
You’re saved by Jesus holy name.
God’s holy wrath, he took for us.
For His love is in great surplus.
Jesus took your sins to the cross.
So your life would not be a loss.
Jesus died but death did not win.
Jesus rose much to death’s chagrin.
Now look to him and see God’s grace.
For this gift is yours to embrace.
You are a sinner that is sure,
But Jesus lives so you’ll be pure.
So repent and run fast to him.
And know peace filled over the brim.
Confess your sins, Yes, every one.
You are forgiven through the Son.
Now, Jesus lives and so will you.
And it excites me to review.
You are precious – his beloved bride.
Forever with him, you’ll abide.
I am in Omaha, NE at the LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ) Annual Gathering. I look forward to this event every year to connect with friends and colleagues in fellowship, worship and networking. It is also a time when I am encouraged in my faith. Case in point, at our opening worship on Sunday, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart through the sermon on Romans 10:14 and thus the following poem flowed out. Praise be to God!
I am a sinner that is true.
God’s wrath is most certainly due.
I fall short through every action.
My deeds have no satisfaction.
But Jesus died that I may live.
And thus to God all glory give.
He is worthy of all my praise.
To Him I will direct my gaze.
But Satan wants me to just quit;
Saying Jesus is not worth it.
But Jesus holds me ever close,
So thus to Satan, “adios”.
And so I’ll live my life for Him.
And not let my light ever dim.
So may I keep on standing strong.
That I may ever sing Your song.
You are the Way, the Truth and the Life.
You and only You,
You are holy and true,
You are my hope and salvation.
There are no other gods who can stand,
all have been outdone,
none can prove to be the one.
Many try to dethrone You,
but all fall short,
Only You is praise wholly due.
But the battle rages on,
my soul is conflicted.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing,
trying to pull off a big con.
I become deceived,
straying from the way.
Listening to the lies,
oh God, my soul is grieved.
Forgive and restore,
remake, for You I adore.
May it be You who I follow,
for there is no other way.
The gods of this world,
are nothing, only hollow.
So dethrone the gods I’ve crowned,
Show me again,
That Jesus, only Jesus,
is the way to truly abound.
We worship God because he sent Jesus to reveal His love and grace to sinful people through his death and resurrection. As you prepare to worship on this Lord’s Day, reflect on the beauty of Jesus; the glory that shines forth revealing the Father. Don’t enter your places of worship out of a sense of duty to one another, but because of what God has done through Jesus Christ. As the psalmist says, in Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.“
The following poem is dedicated to the beauty of Jesus…
Lord Jesus you are beautiful,
And your heart is full of mercy.
Your love is all encompassing,
Your compassion has no boundary.
Your presence gives me holy peace,
Your comfort soothes my broken heart.
I was weak, blind and oh so lost,
From you I’ll never be apart.
You shine forth the Father’s glory,
Your face glows brighter than the sun.
Your beauty takes my breath away,
And with you I am so undone.
I long to gaze upon your face,
And to bask in your loving glow.
Lord Jesus you are beautiful,
And its you that I want to know.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1:8 ESV]
Witnesses don’t share their opinions.
Witnesses don’t share their theories.
Witnesses don’t speculate.
Witnesses don’t guess.
Witnesses tell the truth.
the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.
So helped by the Holy Spirit.
And YOU, Christian, are called to be a witness for Jesus.
You’ve been subpoenaed by Jesus.
But here’s the thing…
The Holy Spirit will give you power to witness.
Jesus doesn’t send you empty-handed.
Jesus sends you equipped.
Jesus sends you.
Jesus goes WITH you.
You are not alone.
Don’t be afraid of the Truth.
Proclaim the Truth boldly and if the world hates you, then so be it.
Jesus loves you.
You are witnesses.
So go and give them Jesus.