09-16-2018 Sermon - God's Servant Is A Hearer

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Israel had turned a deaf ear to the Lord, and indeed all of humanity continually does the same. But God's mysterious Servant spoken of in four different passages of Isaiah called the Servant Songs, is the one person who carefully listens and heeds the Word of God! And this Servant is able to teach what he is taught. And we are invited to listen to his Word so that our darkness can be turned to light. The alternative is to continue to walk by the light of the fires we light, that is, by our own light. And this in turn is called walking in darkness. Its end is death. But there is a different end when we tune our ears and hearts to God's Word as faithfully spoken by God's Servant...

09-09-2018 Sermon - Promise of Joyful Rescue

 Photo by  Lukasz Szmigiel  on  Unsplash

Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

When through the Prophet Isaiah God promised to rescue his people from their bondage in Babylon, the picture of this future salvation is a rich one. It involves the desert becoming a well-watered and verdant garden; a safe highway to the City of God, dramatic healing, and much joyful singing. The period of Israel's exile in Babylon did come to an end and Jerusalem's citizens were permitted to return to their city which had been reduced to rubble. But ultimately the promise delivered by Isaiah involved a greater exile and rescue. It involved sinful humanity's exile from the Garden of Eden and the rescue effected by Christ Jesus our Lord so that we might be travelers on our way to the heavenly city. Those who are travelers on this highway indeed have muchto be joyful for and little wonder they sing with gladness and joy.

09-02-2018 Sermon - Polluted Headsprings

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When the head spring of a river is polluted it does little good to effect a cleanup operation downstream. It is the source that must be purified. The head spring of each individual is their heart, and the head spring of the human race is Adam. In both instance, according to our Lord, the source is polluted with wickedness. That is why the Christian Faith is not a matter of one following his own heart! Instead it is receiving by faith the new and clean heart our Lord promises us. This gift is made possible by Jesus' death and resurrection. Our Lord Jesus becomes the head spring of a new and redeemed humanity.

08-26-2018 Sermon - Deaf, Blind, And Upside Down

 Photo by  Mean Shadows  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mean Shadows on Unsplash

There is none so blind as he who will not see. That pretty well describes the human race apart from God's grace. Being wise in our own eyes we have become deaf and blind to the things of our Creator. And as a consequence we have turned things upside down in our lives. Fortunately our Lord does not leave us alone but he comes to us restoring the hearing and seeing of our hearts and minds, so that not only understanding God's judgment on sin, we also hear his amazing promise to forgive and restore.

08-19-2018 Sermon - Eat This Bread, Drink This Blood

 Photo by  James Coleman  on  Unsplash

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

When Jesus claims to be bread come down from heaven he certainly is being figurative in his speech, is he not? Well certainly belief in Jesus as sent from the Father to give his life for our salvation is intended in his meaning. But then what is all the graphic mention our Lord Jesus makes concerning crunching, gnawing, and chewing on his flesh? And what of his inviting us to drink his blood? Rather graphic imagery wouldn't you say! Well, what is it all about?

08-05-2018 Sermon - Food That Endures to Eternal Life

 Photo by  Patrick Fore  on  Unsplash

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Our Lord Jesus taught us to give thanks for our daily bread. And he also spoke of a more substantial food. He spoke to the crowd who sought him out in our Gospel Lesson, "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you." What is this food which does not spoil and gives more than just a few days nutrition for this temporal life? Moses spoke of it in Deuteronomy when he related the Word of the Lord, "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." And yet Jesus says that this "bread from heaven" is not only a "what" but a "whom". Who is this Word of God that is a person and how does he give life to the world?

07-22-2018 Sermon - The Good Shepherd Feeds His Flock

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It is significant that Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 is included in all four Gospel Accounts. Other than the resurrection itself, it is the only miracle occurring in all four! And its importance may be indicated by the comment in Mark 6:34 "he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd." I say this because God had previously promised through his Prophets and in the Psalms that the day would come when the Lord himself would come and shepherd his people. And this miracle is a clear sign that the promise was being fulfilled by Jesus...

07-15-18 Sermon - The Plumb Line of Judgment

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There are consequences to sin. And although in the present temporal age the consequences of our sin can seem arbitrary, Amos prophesied that God's judgment will ultimately be totally fair and impartial. He was given a vision of the Lord holding a plumb line and holding it in the midst of his people. The wall that is not true and upright will need to be torn down and then restored. According to Amos, Israel was going to be punished by Assyrian invaders. It was too late to avoid that fate, but it was not too late for repentance. The Lord would spare a remnant to be rebuilt and restored. God's Word serves as a plumb line held against our lives. The bad news is that we are all out of plumb. The good news is that he promises restoration to all who repent and cling to his promise of restoration.

Rise and Shine

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Jesus encounters a desperate father whose 12 year old daughter is at the point of death. Jesus agrees to accompany Jairus and to lay his hands on Jairus' daughter. But en route a woman who had suffered for 12 years with a hemorrhage of blood reaches out to touch Jesus' garments believing that with the touch she would be made well. And so Jesus first heals the woman with a chronic illness before he ends up calling the young girl to awake from death, for she in fact had died before Jesus got to her home. Interestingly, Jesus treats death as though it was a mere matter of falling asleep. And he overcomes death simply by calling the deceased to rise, just as any parent would rouse their child in the morning to "rise and shine." 

06-17-2018 Sermon - To His Disciples He Explains Everything

Jesus' parables, instead of being short stories easily understood, have often seemed like a riddle or a difficult puzzle to try to put together. The key to understanding them is first to understand that we are blind to their meaning when we rely on our own wisdom and when we trust our own prejudiced anticipation for the ways things work. And secondly, and most importantly, the key is seeing in Jesus God at work for our salvation. He is the key. And to his disciples Jesus explains everything.

06-10-2018 Sermon - Mortal Combat with the Serpent

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Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Just as the consequences of their disobedience were being spelled out to Adam and Eve, the promise of redemption was also being declared by our Lord. Their salvation would involve God's defeat of the evil one through a most unusual means. All we are told in Genesis 3 is that it would involved the seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent. But we have received the Gospel Accounts, so we know how this earliest of all proclamations of the Gospel took shape and was fulfilled...

06-03-2018 Sermon - Our Keeping the Sabbath

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"Ah, do we have to go to church?" Children ask this of their parents. And in families that faithfully attend weekly worship services, some parents will respond, "Yes you have to go to church. This family honors the Sabbath Day." Well, just what does it mean to "Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy." It seems Jesus had a different idea than many of the religious leaders of his day. And most Christians do not gather on the 7th day of the week, but on the first. What does keeping the Sabbath mean for Christians?

05-27-2018 Sermon - The Thrice Holy God

The great and eloquent prophet, Isaiah, had what was at first a terrifying encounter with the Holy One of Israel in a vision. He knew he would be a goner. Not only was the Lord high and lifted up, but his holiness was too much to look upon. And this Holy One was named by the celestial beings who stood guard, as being thrice holy. Fortunately, Isaiah not only encountered a holy God, but he also encountered a merciful God as well.

05-20-2018 Sermon - Breath of New Life

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There is a connection between breath and life. And although we do not see the air we breath, when it becomes a mighty wind we hear the sound of it. Did you know the same word in Greek is translated into English, either as breath, wind, or Spirit? This gives great significance to what happened as the Holy Spirit was first poured out on believers following Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension...

05-06-2018 Sermon - The Gospel For All Nations

 Photo by  Kyle Glenn  on  Unsplash

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

God's love for people, and grand plan to redeem humanity, was from the beginning for all nations. But the descendants of Abraham often forgot that they were "chosen" by God to be a blessing to all nations. And even the Apostles and disciples of Christ had to be miraculously directed in order to minister the Gospel beyond the circumcised believers. And we need to be reminded that we ourselves have been blessed in order to be a blessing. For truly there is a wideness in God's mercy. The Gospel is for all peoples!

04-15-2018 Sermon - Salvation In No One Else

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Photo by Daniel Burka on Unsplash

The followers of Jesus were different people after Jesus' death and resurrection. And when Peter and John were dragged before the religious authorities, the very one's responsible for Jesus' crucifixion, they proclaimed with boldness that a lame man's healing was in the name of Jesus and that one could find salvation in Jesus' name. In fact, there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we may be saved...