Sunday, June 26, 2016

Trinity 5

Luke 5:1-11 - Trinity Five - June 26, 2016
At Your Word
At your word.  This is the Christian response to Jesus.  The crowds gathered to hear him.  His word is truth.  That is why we respond as we do.
Peter believed what we do about the words that Jesus preached.  What he spoke was God’s word.  What he taught was true and reliable.  Peter knew this.  So he listened to Jesus.  Peter knew furthermore that it was good also for the people to hear what Jesus had to say.  So there was no question about what to do when Jesus asked him to push out his boat a little so he might more effectively preach to the large crowd gathered at the edge of the lake.  Peter gladly supported the Lord in his preaching of the kingdom of God.  He did this by contributing what he had – much as we do when we give our offerings. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Augustana Service - St. Paul Lutheran Church, Bennett, IA - June 25, 2016
The Joy that Is Set before You
The joy of the Lord is your strength.  These words from Nehemiah 8 are one of those beautiful Bible passages that are very easily marketed.  So much can be said in such a short pithy statement.  Years ago, I was given a coffee mug with this verse on it.  I still like it.  What a wonderful thing to read or hear – that even when you are weak, your strength is found in the joy you have in the Lord who saves you!  There is no other strength you need. 
But like with many one-liner Bible passages, if it can fit on a coffee mug or a bumper sticker, it is liable to be taken way out of context.  As you no doubt heard last Sunday, the words of Jesus, “Judge not, and you will not be judged,” have a wildly different meaning than what most people assume.  We should beware of when Bible passages are used as clich├ęs in order to contradict what the Bible actually teaches us, “for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain”  (Ex. 20:7). 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Trinity 3

Luke 15:1-10 - Trinity Three - June 12, 2016
 Heavenly joy
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”  (Hebrews 12:1-3)

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.  These witnesses are those who in Old Testament times were saved from sin and divine judgment by grace alone through faith in Christ.  Like us they never saw Jesus.  But they waited for him.  In him they found their joy in the midst of trials, and their confidence in the midst of spiritual conflict and failure, because in him was their redemption, their forgiveness, their righteousness, and their eternal life.  By faith in God’s promise they received Jesus even before he was born, because by the faithfulness of God’s promise Jesus received them.