Just the Gospel

From the sermon this morning. This can not be said enough. So I am going to just leave this right here…

My friends, through faith in Jesus Christ, your sins have been forgiven and thus you have been justified in the eyes of God. You cannot justify yourself. But your filthy rags have been removed and the white robe of righteousness has been placed on you. Jesus has personally dressed you with the wedding garment and has seated you at the banquet table. Through his death and resurrection, you have been made new. This is not from you. This is not something you can obtain through self-justification for you are unclean, dirty and filthy; always falling short of the glory of God. You are sinner. The justification that places you in God’s holy courts; His kingdom, is pure gift. It is all grace. Confess that you are a sinner and know a love like no other.

Preaching Preparation Prayer

Holy God, Your Word is truth. Your Word is Life. Your Word is living and active. Your Word speaks to the heart and inflames the soul. Oh God, speak to us this morning through Your Word and through the words that I speak. May this not be a self-glorifying speech but a faithful proclamation of Your Word; for I am not a good speaker, preacher or writer therefore if this were left up to me I would surely bring it all to ruin. And so, I beg of You to send now Your Holy Spirit, not just to guide me but to open our hearts to receive this Word, for Your Word is truth. Your Word is Life. To You be the glory now and forever. Amen.

A Walk in a Park

The sermon for this morning is from Luke 9:57-62. This is about the call to follow Jesus. It is a very timely message for the congregation I am serving. The following is the opening paragraph to the sermon that God has placed on my heart. The video of the whole sermon will be posted on the church website this week. To God be the glory!

I saw an internet meme recently that said, “Raising kids is like a walk in the park – Jurassic Park.” We chuckle, but there’s a lot of truth to that. One could also substitute “Following Jesus” for “Raising kids”, and still chuckle; understanding that the meaning is still the same. You see, following Jesus is not easy. Following Jesus is not simply a peaceful walk in a beautiful park. Following Jesus has twists and turns; hills and valleys; roadblocks and straightaways. Following Jesus requires the faith of the father in Mark’s Gospel who says to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Jesus calls you to follow – now – and not to look back. But as you follow him, he also walks along side to encourage you along the way. You must never follow Jesus with rose colored glasses but understand what a life is discipleship requires: Faith. For if following Jesus were really that easy, don’t you think more people would be doing it?

Making a Name

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day we celebrate and recognize the giving of the Holy Spirit 50 days after Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead. This is also the birth of the Church as the Spirit would send those first missionaries out to share the Good News of Jesus Christ; proclaiming a peace that surpasses all understanding. This is a day about God making a name for us; a name sealed forever in the Book of Life.

Below, is the opening paragraph to the sermon I will be preaching this morning. If you want to watch the rest, I invite you to visit our church website (link on the right hand side of this page) or go to YouTube and search for “Living Word Lutheran Church, Puyallup, WA). The sermon should be posted later today or early in the week. The sermon text is based in Acts 2:1-21, but I will be starting in Genesis 11:1-9 as I reference the Tower of Babel.

To God be the glory!!!

John 14:27, Jesus says, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. And this fear thing is what people in this world are trying to deal with. They do this through many means, but mainly, through making a name for themselves. Through unity of purpose and thought; through being connected to a group or community of people, many hope to find intimacy, but what they find is a tower that has fallen into a heap of rumble. The only true peace and intimacy that will last, not just through this life, but for all eternity, is what we have with God through Jesus Christ as Paul tells us in Romans 5. It is a peace and intimacy, a purpose and belonging that is only made known through the Helper, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is that moment and manifestation for the believer.

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?

Pastor’s Prayer

Holy God,
You have called me to the awesome task
of preaching Your Word and
presiding at Your table.
You have called me to lead Your people in worship.
On my own I am incapable of discharging this call.
On my own I will surely mess it all up.
On my own I will surely attempt to rob You of all glory.
Oh God, mighty Father,
walk with me hand in hand that I may give You all the glory.
Hold me tight that I may not stray.
Grant me Your Spirit that I may be faithful with Your Word.
I praise You that You have chosen me to be Your instrument this morning.
To You be all praise and glory.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

From the Heart of a 6-Year-Old

Daddy preaching

I thought I would share with you a portrait of myself drawn by my 6-year-old daughter. Notice my (out of season) Lenten stole (my daughter’s favorite color). Arms out-stretched (as I can be animated in the pulpit). And of course, “God is good“. Behind me is the cross (a very happy daddy here that my daughter included that). Apparently I am a ghost since I have no legs, but far be it from me to critique a 6-year-old’s artwork. I am not sure what the red is at the bottom. Maybe I am jumping out of the flames because the Holy Spirit is red hot that day. Who knows, but I love it. But the following is my favorite…

God’s Radiance

This one is titled (in her own words), “God’s radiance”. Yup, I like that. No further commentary needed.

From the heart of a 6-year-old to mine 🙂