Prayer for Christmas Preaching

This is the prayer I wrote that I will use before I preach tonight. May all preachers grab hold of the opportunity to boldly preach the Gospel as there will, no doubt, be people in attendance who don’t know Jesus. Don’t drop the ball. Give them Jesus.


Holy and awesome God, when sin fractured Your perfect creation You immediately proclaimed hope to a fallen world. Jesus is that hope – Your Son and our Lord. We praise You for Your faithfulness to rescue a lost and fallen creation – and may Your mighty power continue this night.

If there are hurting hearts present who are mourning the loss of a loved one – comfort them. If there are un-convinced hearts present – show them the Light. If there are lost hearts present – claim them. If there are searching hearts present ~ reveal Your Truth to them. Holy God, use my words this night and may they not return to You empty, but continue to work in order to rescue lost people. Awaken hearts and enliven souls as only You can do, oh God.

And now, Father God, as the shepherds made haste to find the Christ-child, a Savior born for all, may we too join in the joyous procession – living in the joy and love of Christmas all year round. To You be all glory, honor, praise and worship through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

It IS right

Here’s some liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion this morning.


Is it right to give You thanks and praise? Of course it is, oh God. You are our Loving Father,
God almighty,
Creator,
Sovereign Lord and King,
Redeemer and
our Strong Fortress.
You came down at Christmas time and flooded Your creation with Love.You dwelt among us in Jesus Christ, died and rose that our sins would be forgiven. You have obliterated the reign of the Father of Lies; smashing his head as You promised. You have washed us clean with the blood of the lamb and through faith, have clothed us with Christ’s righteousness. Oh God, there is much to thank and praise You for and so we continue our efforts by joining with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…


To God be the glory, always and forever. Amen!

Shepherds

Shepherds came at Christmas time
to a lowly manger stall.
A sign proclaimed by angels bright,
Good News the angels did chime.

With all haste they ran to see,
a Savior born for all.
Wrapped in cloths for them to find.
They gazed at him with glee.

All who heard them wondered much,
But Mary treasured it all.
As they left they praised our God,
For their hearts had now been touched.

What say you of this Good News?
You sinner condemned to die.
Jesus Christ was born for you.
Receive him and be renewed.

Will you come at Christmas time,
To hear of Love being born.
This is Life for you my friend,
And not just a cute little rhyme.

Never Over

The following is the article I submitted to The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) for Saturday, Dec 21. To God be the glory.


In a couple more days it will be Christmas. It is what we have been waiting for since sometime before Thanksgiving. Decorations slowly were slipped into department stores around Halloween and Christmas aisles were set up. As Black Friday inched closer, Christmas ads ramped up and then – BAM! – we finished our Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas unofficially started. The mayhem of shopping, decorating homes, planning parties, rehearsing for Christmas programs and baking all those delicious goodies commenced. The hustle and bustle of the season has worn many people down, yet, at least for me, it has been a good tired. The calendar may say that Christmas is almost over but know this – It is NEVER over.

Once the family Christmas gatherings end, the cleanup begins. Lights around town slowly come down and there is almost a depressing quality to the whole process. The festival atmosphere slowly gives way to the dreariness of winter. The Christmas music ends. The bright Christmas cheer fades. Life returns to a sense of normalcy. But why does this have to happen?

Yes, I understand the lights and decorations coming down but why end the Christmas cheer? Why the embracing of the winter doldrums? Christmas is not a secular holiday that shows up on the calendar. It is not just an excuse for an extended family vacation. Christmas is the Good News of a Savior being born for you and for me. Christmas is the love of God blasting its way into the world through the humblest of means. Christmas in a word: JESUS. And let me tell you something, Jesus NEVER ends.

For centuries, Jews were waiting for a Messiah to come. Isaiah, Malachi and other prophets foretold his arrival. John the Baptist appeared and prepared the way of the Lord. Then Jesus appeared in a big way. He performed miracle after miracle but most notably, Jesus was crucified and then rose from the dead for the forgiveness of sins – your sins. Jesus now reigns and lives forever, and since that is the case, how can we say Christmas ends? Christmas does not end, just the decorations, music and presents. The Spirit of Christmas, however, is year-round and the Good News of Christmas is eternal.

I encourage you this Christmas to find a church that faithfully proclaims this Good News – the Word of God – for the true joy of Christmas is only found through the Love that came down at Christmas time. The true joy of Christmas is only found in Jesus. Don’t get caught up in all the secular hype but get caught up in the Holy Spirit through faithful preaching of the Word. With that, I invite you to check out Living Word this Christmas (see the accompanying ad). If that doesn’t work for you then stop by our website and you can watch/listen to the sermons.

May the joy of the Christ child fill you with peace this Christmas season and beyond. To God be the glory, always and forever. Amen.

The Hill

Holy God,
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,
Amen!

Christ-Drenched Joy

Today, Living Word Lutheran Church is excited. We are excited that we are redeemed by God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. We are excited that through faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven and thus everlasting life is ours. We are excited to be serving an awesome God. We are excited that we live in a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are excited that Satan has been defeated. We are excited that we are children of God. We are excited and drenched in joy.

…and oh by the way…we are excited that we are worshiping (for the first time) in our new building 🙂

To God be the glory!!!

The following is a little something I wrote for Holy Communion on this 3rd Sunday of Advent — JOY.


Yes! Oh Yes! It is right and our pleasure to worship you, to give You thanks and to make much of You, oh God. It is our joy to sing of Your mighty deeds. Through Jesus Christ Your son – the Messiah – You redeemed a lost and broken people through his death and resurrection. You reconciled us back to You and gave us Life. You healed that which the serpent broke and restored that which was lost. Holy Father, Your power is great. Your mercy is wide. You grace is abundant. Fill us again and again with your Spirit to overflowing that Joy may exude from us without end. May the world be drenched in love and be swept away in Your never-ending life. And so, it is our pleasure to join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise.

Facts

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!!!