The Name

The following is part of the Great Thanksgiving for Holy Communion today, Pentecost Sunday. It picks up on themes from the sermon for today…

It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to You, oh God, for through the name that is above all names, Jesus, You made a name for us through faith by the Holy Spirit. You have revealed the truth of who You are and have sealed our names in the Book of Life. You have given us peace and intimacy with You and have promised us a seat at Your table. Oh God, our Father, You are worthy of all worship, 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?

Witnesses

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.
But rather…
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.

The Gift

This is the Great Thanksgiving liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion today, based on the preaching text from John 20:19-29…

It is indeed right and salutary
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you,
oh God,
Creator of life.
Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ died on the cross
and rose from the dead that our sins would be forgiven.
This is awesome and incredible news,
but also unbelievable to our human brains.
For one thing we are sinners worthy of condemnation
and secondly dead people don’t come back to life.
But all thanks and praise to You
that You have given us the gift of Your Holy Spirit
that we can believe this Good News;
that Jesus is alive,
and thus be saved.
And so we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven
in singing Your unending praise…

Believing

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
[John 20:29 ESV]

Believing isn’t seeing,
it is knowing that the unbelievable;
that which doesn’t make sense,
is not only believable but,
true.
Believing isn’t trusting your senses,
but it is knowing in your heart;
your heart of hearts,
that which your senses can’t confirm is
true.
Believing is leaping from a precipice
into the unknown,
defying the screaming voice within;
the voice staying, “you will die, this is
true.”
Believing is shutting that voice out
and jumping; listening to the Spirit;
listening with the ears of faith,
listening to the voice of
Truth.
Believing is falling to your death,
knowing that it means Life;
for the hands of our gracious God,
will keep you in the
Truth.
Believing is a gift,
wrapped in the messiness of the cross,
presented through the empty tomb,
and secured in the Spirit of
Truth.
Yes! Yes! I believe! Jesus Christ lives, and that is the
truth.

Advent Prayer — Come, Holy Spirit

Father God,
holy and awesome,
gracious and merciful;
we are at the threshold of the anniversary of your glorious and loving entry into human history.
You burst into our lives in humble means
and inaugurated the beginning of the end of Your plan;
Your plan for our redemption through Jesus Christ.
And now,
we anxiously await the coming of the bridegroom
to return to gather up his bride,
the Church;
a glorious promise of New Life.
And so,
as You sent Your Holy Spirit to Mary and Elizabeth,
send Your Holy Spirit to us now.
May we, too, be filled with joy and shout from the mountain tops
that Jesus, our Lord, is coming.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—