Joyful Noise

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”
[Psalms 95:1-2]

Many of you did this yesterday. Many of you entered sanctuaries and other places of worship. You gathered with your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to worship our awesome God through Jesus Christ. You sang songs/hymns using a variety of instruments. You confessed your sins and heard absolution in the name of Jesus. Scripture was read and the Word was preached. Some of you celebrated and participated in the sacraments. You gave your offerings and lifted your petitions to the Lord.

[At least, I hope all this happened in your worship. That’s me, but I digress…]

My point this morning?

I love the fact that scripture encourages me to make a “joyful noise” to God, because when I make a sound with music, to others, that’s exactly what it is, noise. Call it what you want, coming out of me, though, it is a joyful noise because of who God is through Jesus Christ. Therefore I will “sing”.

So sing your hearts out and never let someone tell you to keep it down. And not just on Sunday’s (or whenever you worship) but everyday. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord that the whole world may hear and give glory to God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord because trust me, no matter what anyone thinks, when the “noise” comes from your heart, God smiles 🙂

The Pastor -|—

Death is No More

Death is the stark reality that we must face every single day, and therefore this is the motivation behind Jesus’ ministry. He was on a death-destroying mission. So when Jesus comes face to face with death, while at Lazarus’ tomb, he is moved to deep and powerful emotion that gives us a glimpse into what kept him focused on the cross. Jesus is so angry at sin that he is obedient to the Father’s will and stays on the cross even though he had the power to call down a legion of angels to protect him. Jesus remains on the cross because the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23) Jesus defeats death and thus we have hope. Now, our weeping is not over death’s victory. We weep because we will miss our loved ones but also, through faith in Jesus, we can weep tears of joy over what God has done for us through Jesus Christ.

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

Cling to the hope of the resurrection, oh weary soul.

The Pastor -|—

Waiting for the Lord

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
[Psalm 130:5-6]

These watchmen have the night shift; standing watch on the city wall. They stand watch looking out for those who would want to harm the city, but as they watch, they are also looking for the rising sun. Why the rising sun? The rising sun meant morning and that meant they get to go home and be with their family. And so they waited for the morning; confident that the sun would rise. And they had every reason to be confident. I mean, from the beginning of time, the sun has risen in the morning as it was designed by God to do. And so these men wait; they wait for the rising sun. Confident.

Now consider what the psalmist is saying. His soul is waiting for the Lord and he is more confident in the coming of the Lord than the watchmen who wait for the sun to rise. The sun rises like clock work and even more reliable is the Lord and so his soul waits in hopeful expectation.

Oh weary soul, the Lord is coming, so wait in joyful expectation; being more confident than the rising morning sun. Oh weary soul, wait for the Lord, for He is coming for you.

The Pastor -|—

Sermon teaser for John 9:24-41 with Psalm 23

The following are the closing two paragraphs from this Sunday’s sermon (March 26). For more, please keep an eye on the church’s website at: http://www.livingwordlutheranchurch.com for the complete audio version of this message. May God be praised.

If your eyes are wide open; seeing Jesus, and acknowledging him as Lord, then these two verses are incredibly awesome to your hearing: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff comfort me.”  And then, You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  The darkest valley is not dark to Jesus and living among those who would want to destroy us is of no concern for Jesus, for he has our lives in his mighty hands.

And therefore, when your eyes are open; seeing the light of salvation that is in Jesus, you can confidently say, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Ponder that verse; for how can one not turn over everything they are to this Good Shepherd. Open your eyes and keep them open that you may full describe and proclaim the glory of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The world NEEDS your wide-open eyes. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

True Delight

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
[Psalm 1:1-2]

Previously I wrote about the church keeping it’s focus and not getting distracted with a worldly gospel that has politics at it’s core. It’s a gospel that is ramping up more and more as we approach Inauguration Day. The rhetoric is aimed at pitting two sides against one another; not leading towards unity but rather a “war” of sorts. I am seeing Christians and Christian leaders posting articles and updates that have a hate-filled taste to them. It bothers me. I try to avoid such things but it’s all over the place. I see the posts and quickly gloss over them; trying not to get drawn into the fray. And believe me it is tempting. So in response I am trying to focus on taking delight in God through Jesus Christ and letting THE Gospel shed light in the darkness. It’s only through Jesus that we will find hope. It is only through love that we can battle hate. So excuse me as I go and delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it…

All praise be to God our Father through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen

The Pastor -|—

Desires

There’s a Bible camp song that I remember singing that goes something like this:

Lord You are, more precious than silver.
Lord You are, more costly than gold.
Lord you are, are more beautiful than diamonds.
And nothing I desire compares to You.

I never really understood these words then; either as a young camper or as a young, immature camp counselor. We sang the words and for me they flew over my head. But now I read these words and I pray that they are true in my life now. I know there are times that I desire other things over God. There are times I desire other activities other than praying or reading scripture. There are possessions that I have that I value more than God. I reflect on this and I am ashamed. I guess it is therapeutic to write (and read) these words and think about such desires. It forces me reevaluate things and thus realign my desires, because, really, there is nothing more costly, precious or beautiful than God. If you truly think about it you have to agree with me. If you can’t, then you don’t know God through Jesus Christ. And so…

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.
[Psalm 27:4]

Oh God, may I know You better that my desire be for You and for You alone. May I seek Your face. May I desire Your presence. Oh God, You are more precious, costly and beautiful than anything. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Thanksgiving

Unless you live under a rock, you know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day of over-eating with relatives (some of whom may drive you crazy), watching a parade with lame commentary and trying to stay awake for the football games. It’s a grand ole holiday that ushers in the unofficial start of the Christmas season (even though Christmas decorations and commercials started a while ago).

None of this is new information for you.

For me, this holiday is the unofficial start of my Christmas ranting; one where I lament how commercialized Christmas has become, but I will spare you the ranting rhetoric this year and simply refer you to the Word of God. As you gather with family and friends, let’s keep things in perspective and remember the reason we can truly be thankful.

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
[Psalms 136:1-9]

And the list goes on and on. Give thanks to the Lord for Jesus Christ and the hope of the resurrection we have through faith in him. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good for His steadfast loves endues forever and ever and ever and ever and…

Have a safe and God-glorifying Thanksgiving.

The Pastor -|—