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Posts Tagged ‘Witness’

Keeping Mercy & Life Together Together

October 23rd, 2013 No comments

  I recently had the privilege of attending “In the World for Good”, a conference on Urban Ministry at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN. The keynote speaker was Dr. John Nunes, the recently appointed Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University. I’d like to offer a few reflections on something Nunes highlighted in his presentation, namely, the connection between mercy and life together. It is easy for us to separate mercy and life together. On the one hand, we know the importance of showing mercy, but what’s often missing is any real desire to do life together.   More…

REPOST: Responding to a Tragedy in Your Community in a Steadfast Way

April 17th, 2013 13 comments

Any pastor worth his salt feels a tension between two good things: (1) breaking out beyond his own ecclesiastical ghetto so as to live in the public square as a Christian leader and (2) remaining faithful to the Word of God and an orthodox confession. Often, it feels as though a choice of one or the other has to be made. Think of the recent flap over Louie Giglio being disinvited (forced to withdraw?) from giving the benediction at President Obama’s second inauguration. Whatever you think of the rest of Giglio’s Christian confession, he was forced out of the public square back   More…

“Acts of Witness, Mercy, Life Together” (Sermon on Acts 4:32-35, by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

April 15th, 2012 No comments

“Acts of Witness, Mercy, Life Together” (Acts 4:32-35) As many of you may know, for the last couple of years our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has been organizing its work under the banner of “Witness, Mercy, Life Together.” You can see the symbol that is being used for this emphasis on your bulletin insert, encircled by those three terms. But this is more than a slogan in a marketing campaign. No, “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” really describes what the church does, whether on the national and international levels, as our synod operates, or on the local level, as, for instance, here   More…

“Net Growth” (A sermon by Pr. Charles Henrickson, on Mark 1:14-20)

January 22nd, 2012 4 comments

“Net Growth” (Mark 1:14-20) Where are the fish? Where have all the fish gone? This is the question on the mind of most every church in America these days. And no, I’m not talking about trout and catfish. I’m talking about people. Where are the fish, where are all the people? Why aren’t we seeing them in the church like we used to? Whose fault is it? Whom can we blame? Our numbers are down. Attendance, offerings–that’s what we’re fishing for, isn’t it? Maybe we need to try a different net. Why aren’t we seeing any (if you’ll pardon the   More…

“Can Anything Good Come out of Nazareth?” (A sermon by Pr. Charles Henrickson, on John 1:43-51)

January 14th, 2012 2 comments

[This is a sermon of encouragement for all the "little churches," the small, struggling congregations that seem to make up most of our synod (like the two that make up my dual parish). But I think it applies to big congregations too, when they realize that what makes them great is not their size but their Savior. And I think this message fits especially with the "Witness" aspect of the "Witness, Mercy, Life Together" emphasis of our synod, so appropriate during this Epiphany season. CH] “Can Anything Good Come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:43-51) Can anything good come out of   More…

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together: Our Life as Church” (A sermon on Acts, by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together: Our Life as Church” (Acts) “Witness, Mercy, Life Together”: This is the threefold emphasis now being used for our national church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” has also served well as the basis for our sermon series here at St. Matthew’s this Easter season. We have seen these themes emerge in our readings from the Book of Acts, for “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” can be said to characterize the life of the early church. But not only so, these aspects of the early church’s life are true for us as well. And   More…

“Making Known the Unknown God: Paul at the Areopagus” (A sermon by Pr. Charles Henrickson, on Acts 17)

“Making Known the Unknown God: Paul at the Areopagus” (Acts 17:16-31) “Witness” has been a major theme running through the readings from the Book of Acts that we’ve had this Easter season. We’ve heard the church bearing witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world: Peter and the apostles speaking boldly before the Sanhedrin. Peter preaching Law and Gospel on the Day of Pentecost. Stephen bearing witness to Christ and becoming the first martyr of the church in the process. The church giving verbal testimony to the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ,   More…

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together: The Case of Stephen” (A sermon by Pr. Charles Henrickson, on Acts 6-7)

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together: The Case of Stephen” (Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a, 51-60) “Witness, Mercy, Life Together”: This is an emphasis right now for our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, since the work of our national church body can be gathered under these three headings. In connection with this, our synod is using the New Testament Greek words associated with these aspects of the church’s life: Martyria, “Witness,” the bold testimony that Christians give to their Savior, often in the face of hostility and persecution. Diakonia, literally “Service,” but especially, service in the form of works of “Mercy.” And third, Koinonia, “Fellowship,” or   More…

“Witnesses Preach Law and Gospel” (A sermon by Pr. Charles Henrickson, on Acts 2:14a, 36-41)

“Witnesses Preach Law and Gospel” (Acts 2:14a, 36-41) Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t: The hymn we just sang, “He’s Risen, He’s Risen,” was written by C. F. W. Walther. Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther was, of course, the first president of our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and really the leading figure in our synod’s history. This year we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth in October of 1811. Yesterday, May 7, was the commemoration of his death, and so it is very appropriate that we sing his Easter hymn today. “Oh, where is your sting, death? We fear you   More…

“Witnesses Worthy of the Name” (A sermon by Pr. Charles Henrickson, on Acts 5:29-42)

“Witnesses Worthy of the Name” (Acts 5:29-42) Today we begin a series of sermons based on readings from the Book of Acts. Recently many of you went through a several-month-long Bible study on the Book of Acts, and hopefully that will still be somewhat fresh in your mind. In any case, I think it will be timely and helpful for us to reflect on these glimpses of life in the early church, for in many ways the time of the early church, the conditions they faced, parallels the situation of the church in our day. They lived in a world   More…

“Witness, Mercy, Life Together”: A Hymn (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

April 29th, 2011 10 comments

President Harrison’s “Emphasis for the Church” is summed up in three terms, “Witness, Mercy, Life Together” (Martyria, Diakonia, Koinonia are the related Greek terms). The President’s Office has set up a blog, wmlt.org, to carry forward the theme of “Witness, Mercy, Life Together: In Christ, for the Church and the World.” I’m going to be referring to this threefold emphasis in my preaching over the coming weeks, as I start a sermon series on the Book of Acts. So I thought it would be good to have a hymn to accompany the series. I’m aware that there are already a   More…