Sunday, May 27, 2012


John 14:23-31 - Pentecost - May 27, 2012 
Keeping Jesus’ Words

When you can’t understand another person’s language, there is very little from that person that you can learn.  Once you understand the language, the learning can begin.  But what do you learn?  A few years ago, Monica and I and our son James spent ten months in Germany.  I was there as a student of theology, but I spent most of my time trying to learn as much of the language as I could.  Although I was still very far from mastering the language, I do remember the first day in Germany that I was able to completely understand a long, compound German sentence.  For weeks I had been listening in the classroom, and concentrating so hard, trying to catch as many words as possible.  When I finally understood, I was so proud and excited at my progress, that with a big smile on my face, and sitting high in my chair, I could hardly contain my delight.  It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard, for no other reason than that I could finally understand it – I had figured it out! 
Here’s an English translation of what my professor said that made me so happy: “In my personal opinion, there’s nothing wrong with ordaining women as pastors.”  He continued, “Those passages in Scripture, where the Apostle Paul said that women cannot be pastors no longer apply to us today because Paul wasn’t aware of our contemporary situation.”  My professor was wrong.  What he said was contrary to the word of God.  And yet it made me happy simply to understand what he said.   Now, although there is satisfaction in figuring things out, there’s not much benefit to understanding something, if what you learn by it is not true.  But that’s life. Typically, we have to figure things out and come to understand them before we are able to determine whether or not they are reliable. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Easter 6 Rogate

John 16:23-30 – Rogate – May 13, 2012
Hearing, Praying, & Living in Jesus’ Name
Jesus, in Thy cross are centered
All the marvels of Thy grace;
Thou, my Savior, once hast entered
Through Thy blood the Holy Place;
Thy sacrifice holy there wrought my redemption,
From Satan’s dominion I now have exemption;
The way is no free to the Father’s high throne,
Where I may approach Him in Thy name alone.  Amen. 
We approach the Father in the name of Jesus.  We approach him in order to worship him.  Jesus said in John chapter 4, “Believe me…the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”  The Father seeks true worshipers by sending us Jesus.  Only Jesus teaches us how to worship God because it is only through Jesus that we are able to approach God.  True worship consists of true faith.  We worship the Father in Jesus’ name, because it is Jesus who reconciles us to God—it is for Jesus’ sake that God forgives us our sins and accepts us as his children.  Jesus shows us the Father by dying.  There on the cross Jesus both satisfies the Father’s wrath against sin and reveals the Father’s love toward sinners.  By considering his great pain of body and soul, we learn not only to consider the true weight of our disobedience, but also the great love that God has toward us.  And so it is to this that the Holy Spirit testifies.  We worship the Father in spirit and truth by believing what the Spirit of truth teaches us in Holy Scripture.  The hour has come, and now is, that we Christians worship God in Jesus’ name. 
Worshiping God consists of three things.  First, we listen to God.  We gather together to hear his faith-creating word in Jesus’ name.  Second, we pray to God.  We present all of our petitions to our faithful Father in Jesus’ name.  Third, we live our lives to God.  We not only sing his praises with words, but we live our praises with deeds.  We do this in Jesus’ name.