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Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

Rejoicing in the Violence of the Cross: A Sermon for Gaudete on Matthew 11:2-10

December 14th, 2013 3 comments

The introduction to this sermon has been adapted from Pastor Ken Kelly’s excellent Gaudete homily. You can read the whole thing at: http://homofactusest.com/2013/12/10/gaudete-rejoice-in-the-lord/. That John the Baptist was in prison should come as an absolute shock to everyone who reads the Gospel of Matthew. John doesn’t belong in a prison; he belongs in asylum! What’s wrong with this guy? Either he had finally eaten one locust too many, or maybe all that time in the wilderness wearing camel skin had finally gotten to him. Either way, how could John, of all people, ask a question like Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for   More…

Thanksgiving Day- Jesus is Not Ashamed of You (Romans 1:16)

November 28th, 2013 No comments

  Thank God for the Gospel! As we celebrate this day of Thanksgiving, it is meet, right, and salutary to give thanks to God for the Gospel. You’re probably thinking, Of course! I know that, preacher! Let’s get on with it, tell me something I don’t already know. Fair enough. But what did you expect to hear from a preacher of the Gospel on Thanksgiving Day? Don’t be thankful for the Gospel? Of course not! So now that you know you’re going to get another routine Thanksgiving sermon, you can safely go back to letting your minds wander of doing   More…

Last Sunday of the Church Year: Wake Awake, for Night is Flying (St. Matthew 25:1-13)

November 23rd, 2013 1 comment

The Bridegroom soon will call us, “Come to the wedding feast.” May slumber not befall us nor watchfulness decrease (LSB 514, st. 1). Ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom, but only five got in to His wedding feast. The other five missed out because they fell asleep and found themselves unprepared when the bridegroom came. Have you ever overslept and missed something important? I just did this last week. Last Sunday I was up until way too late working on my sermon, went to bed at 6am on Sunday morning, and didn’t wake up when the alarm went off at 7. Sure enough,   More…

When a DP Wants More Methods….

June 21st, 2013 22 comments

While polling data1 may be useful there is an unintended side-effect of such data. It is panic and unbelief. We hear the fear in the voices of our leaders who out of worry scramble to find a fix for the bleeding out of congregations. I read some of that worry in the recent campaign circulars from the DPs of the Northwest and CNH districts. What are we going to do? Their answer? More Church Growth methods. What that means is focus groups are called into action with the task of finding the causes behind “the problem” and to offer solutions.   More…

The Clear Choice – A District President Comments on the LCMS Election

June 8th, 2013 57 comments

I received in my inbox an email circulating among delegates to the 2013 LCMS convention. The writer of this email (a district president) articulates his impressions of three nominees for synod president, including the incumbent Matt Harrison. The email’s author is quick to set up a dichotomy from which he argues “two distinct paths” the synod can choose to go down depending upon who is elected synod president. According to this DP both paths taken “are best understood in the way they relate to our current culture.” The first path, which presumably represents the current synod president, is one which   More…

“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.”

June 5th, 2013 No comments

Mark records in chapter five, verse nineteen, of his gospel the following, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” This man Jesus is speaking to had been filled with demons. The demons inside him drove this man to cut himself with sharp stones, take up residence in the village graveyard, and terrify the town’s folk, but then along comes Jesus and everything changes for this tormented person. The same powerful Word that called the universe into existence spoke to the demon possessed man   More…

Keeping the Two-Edged Sword Sharp

The author of Hebrews says, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword,” (Hebrews 4:12).  A sharp sword is a powerful and dangerous weapon.  It’s something that must be handled with care, lest it do great harm.  But in our battle against the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers over this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12), nothing less powerful is needed.  God’s Word is our chief weapon in this war.  It is of the utmost importance that this sword remain sharp, living, and active in our lives. Again and again the Bible teaches about the two   More…

Those Pesky Labels Which Bind Us!

April 8th, 2013 6 comments

Last month the UC Berkeley “News Center” reported , “Religious affiliation in the United States is at its lowest point since it began to be tracked in the 1930′s, according to analysis of newly released survey data by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University. Last year, one in five Americans claimed they had no religious preference, more than double the number reported in 1990” (on-line source). A mega-church pastor comments in this Fox News opinion piece what this report means is that Americans are increasingly more wary of labels. This same mega-church pastor then goes on to talk about   More…

He Said, “I don’t like your polemic!”

March 11th, 2013 33 comments

The restaurant was bustling with chattering and the clanking of cups and plates as diners enjoyed authentic Mandarin food. My family was seated by a smiling waitress as she placed a pot of hot jasmine tea in front of us along with the typical porcelain cups decorated with a floral pattern I see all too often at Asian restaurants. I was hungry and knew what I wanted to order. The waitress must have sensed my appetite as she looked at me and asked if we were ready to order. Someone at the table quickly spoke up, “Not yet!” I sighed   More…

Steadfast in Education: Why Lutheran Schools and Why Lutheran Teachers?

Why do we need Lutheran schools? Why do Lutheran schools need Lutheran teachers? Though these are simple questions, their answers get at the whole reason that the extensive system of Lutheran schools exists in the first place. Lutherans in North America have been school-builders from the beginning. In fact, the opportunity to establish schools apart from the purview of the State was at least as enticing to these first Lutheran immigrants from Europe as freedom from a state religion. But why? After all, schools are a lot of work. All the planning, budgeting, instruction, assessment, recordkeeping — operating a school   More…

Worship Practices and Context

September 21st, 2012 31 comments

Some proponents of contemporary worship suggest that how best to deal with issues over differences about worship, is to first understand that worship practices, such as those found in the liturgy, are products of contextualization. “Contextualization” is a word having a meaning that isn’t at once apparent.  We want to ask, “What does that mean?” In general, contextualization refers to what is sometimes called “cultural bias.” A cultural bias is the subjective dimension to human conduct found in a community.  For example, a sociologist will look for patterns, traits, and practices that express this subjective dimension in a given culture.   More…

Gurus of Growth

September 14th, 2012 12 comments

Flip on the television set and change the channel to one of the “faith stations” and you will find a plethora of ministers engaged in growing their multimillion dollar churches at the expense of those willing to support them.  The superstars of church growth fill the airways as well as stadium sized buildings. At the top of their game, they are all too willing to sell their secrets to “success” through seminars, books, DVDs and private coaching. Make no mistake about it, church growth sells and these gurus of growth peddle everything from individual self-help to marketing techniques. This is   More…

Is the World Saved Apart from Faith?

August 29th, 2012 119 comments

A BJS reader asks, “Does the teaching of Objective Justification (at least as I have heard it explained on the BJS threads) – that the “world” [all mankind] are in reality justified and forgiven by Christ’s universal atonement – also mean then that the world [all mankind] are in reality also SAVED, and this, apart from faith? If so – that they are saved – then how can that be apart from faith? And if not, how can it be that all are not saved though they are in reality justified and forgiven by objective justification? I believe this gets   More…

Steadfast in Society: A Gold for God

August 16th, 2012 11 comments

I must admit that like most of America I watched every moment of the Women’s team and individual gymnastics. What these women are able to do is simply amazing to say the very least. I know Aly Raisman did at least 14 back flips before landing back on the balance beam. I can’t seem to keep my Durango in between the white and blue line, but these 17 year old girls can land one toe on a dime. It was quite inspirational to watch our American ladies represent our fine country, however no one won the hearts of America Like   More…

Steadfast in the Pew — Has Liberal “Christianity” Died?

July 24th, 2012 19 comments

A Facebook friend of mine linked up this interesting op-ed carried by the New York Times this past Sunday. The title of the article, “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?” What I found particularly interesting from the article is the writer’s claim, “But if conservative Christianity has often been compromised, liberal Christianity has simply collapsed.” “Liberal Christianity has simply collapsed”? The writer’s assessment very much mirror’s that of Dr. Rodney Stark, who is currently a Professor of Social Sciences at Baylor University. Dr. Stark had much to say about the decline of mainstream Christianity two years ago in this interview printed at Patheos   More…