Adventing with Peace

The following is the opening paragraph from the sermon I am preaching on Sunday, December 8 — the 2nd Sunday of Advent. The theme is peace that only God can give through the birth of Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior who is coming again.

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. [Matthew 3:2]

Those are the words of Jesus as he prepares his disciples for this eventual departure – a death they do not and can not understand right now. But it is a death that will usher in the peace that Jesus is leaving with them ~ for he is the Prince of Peace as prophesized through Isaiah. It is a peace that goes beyond comprehension. It is a peace that can not be manufactured, copied or imitated. It is a peace that, really, can not even be imagined – only hoped for with complete confidence. And I say confidence because – well – Jesus left it and because God promised it long before the man, Jesus, came on the scene. We talk about peace, but rarely do we pursue it rightly. The world imagines a peace where wars cease, racism is eliminated, discrimination is gone. Governments try to legislate peace. Churches pass meaningless resolutions that claim to eradicate racism. Basically, they try to ban sin which cannot be done by humans. Shalom – the peace that Jesus brings is so much more and is only ushered in through Jesus and the arrival of God’s kingdom. Let our Adventing continue.

Shamelessly Persistent

The following is the opening prayer for the sermon I am preaching on Sunday, July 28. The text is Luke 11:1-13; Jesus teaching the Lord’s Prayer and the story of the persistent friend. To God be the glory. Let us pray…

Good things. That’s what we want, oh God, is good things. But too often those good things that we desire are only for our comfort and peace; for self-glorification. We want healing. We want stuff. We want notoriety. We ask and ask and ask some more. Maybe we even recruit others to ask on our behalf, because, after all, the more who are praying the better our chances. But that’s not how it works. Convict our hearts of this error, oh God. Give us understanding. Give us intimacy. Give us Your good gifts. We ask but we are too short-sighted. We long for something and become idolatrous. Forgive us, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Give us your good gifts. Through faith in Jesus Christ, may we long for the gift that only You can give. And thus, may we be shamelessly persistent in our prayer for the good gift of You. Now may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, oh God, our rock and Redeemer. Amen.

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.

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?

Hosanna!

The following is the opening paragraph to Sunday’s Palm Sunday sermon. A little sermon teaser for you 🙂

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” [John 12:13]

“Save us now”, is the cry of the day. Hosanna! Blessed be Jesus, the Son of God. Blessed be Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Blessed be his name forever and ever. Amen. For Jesus comes at the will of our Holy God and Father. Jesus comes as King and Redeemer. Jesus comes to set his people free. Jesus comes to save…NOW. Hosanna! Jesus came to save miserable wretches and sinners such as you and me. He came to free those who can not free themselves. Jesus came as Messiah, not to give us our “best life now”, but to give us our best life later. Now, we live in hope; being at peace with God. Blessed be Jesus, the Son of God. Blessed be his name forever and ever…

The rest of the sermon (audio only) will be posted on my congregation’s website later.

Have a blessed Holy Week.