Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pentecost 10 – Proper 13

August 1, 2010
Pentecost 10 – Proper 13
Luke 12:13-21
Possessed by one’s possessions

We need to have a balance in life. We need to learn how to handle our possessions so that our possessions will not handle us. Jesus is not condemning possessions. There is no virtue in being poor, needy, or devoid of material needs. It is a matter of keeping perspective. Do we possess our possessions or do our possessions posses us? Are we slaves to material goods? It is not a question of being rich or having fabulous homes, expensive jewelry, and having a high income. It is not only the super – rich who can become obsessed with possessions even those of modest means can become enslaved to their possessions – no matter how many or how few they may be. To be possessed by your possessions means.

1. You are greedy for possessions. "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." V. 15

A. Can you handle success? Can you handle wealth? Most people who strike it rich wining the lottery are broke within five to seven years. It wasn’t the money per se it was their priorities. It was their attitude toward it. Your life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions. We live in a consumed consumer society that shouts at us everyday saying, “You need more of this, you won’t be happy without that, you need to look this way, and have these things in order to be accepted, respected and valued by others.” The truth of the matter is this; the things of this world are passing away and only the things of eternity last forever.

B. Can you remember what you received for Christmas when you were seven? So why do you think that your children will be scared for life if they don’t have the latest thing? Remember back to that day in your life. At the time what you received might have been the most wonderful thing in the world. But now, looking back and reflecting you must come to realize that what was truly important was having the people who mattered most in your life with you.

2. To be possessed by your possessions means you never get enough possessions. “He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'” V. 17

A. In just a few weeks it will be here, once again, college move- in day. It’s amazing how much “stuff” an 18 year old can cram into a dorm room! What is amazing to me and I see it each year we take our children and their “stuff” back to campus is those students who arrive in a big honking’ SUV pulling a U-haul which is bigger then the dorm room itself! And remember this student will have a roommate who has come with all of his stuff as well.

B. We can never be satisfied because we always want more. You receive an e-mail from a Mr. Abubakar in Nigeria. He claimed to be the personal friend to the son of the late dictator of Nigeria. He wrote that you were recommended to him as an honest and reliable person to whom he can entrust a sum of money. He explained that the son of the late dictator was using him to send $22 million ill-gotten dollars out of the country. For your help he will give you 20% of the total. He is confident you would not keep all of the money like someone in Germany did a year ago. He asked you to send him your address, fax and phone number, and bank account number. He assures you of privacy. He hoped to hear from you immediately. You don't get something for nothing. We all know that. But why do so many fall for such a scam? We are all tempted by greed.

C. One author put it this way. “If you look carefully you will see that there is one thing and only one thing that causes unhappiness. The name of that thing is Attachment. What is an attachment? An emotional state of clinging caused by the belief that without some particular thing or some person you cannot be happy... Here is a mistake that most people make in their relationships with others. They try to build a steady nesting place in the ever-moving stream of life.”[1]

3. To be possessed by your possessions means you trust your possessions to give the good life. “And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." V. 19

A. Greed seeks worldly things, which must not be equated with true "living”. We stumble when material possessions become a substitute for the proper object of a person's search and worship--God. Therefore, greed . . . is idolatry!

God addresses the man on his own pragmatic terms. He is dealing not with matters of the kingdom or of life beyond death, but with the question of the disposition of his possessions. What will happen to all my stuff? This underscores the fact that in the end he will have to "leave it all". Then it will be someone else’s problem. Walk into any antique shop and it is filled with other people’s stuff. You will never see a U-haul following a hearse.
Solomon reminds us of this reality in the book of Ecclesiastes. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. - Ecclesiastes 2:18-19

B. Since you can’t take it with you. Since things will not bring happiness we trust in that one thing needful, the only thing that can cause true contentment and joy which is a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 Contentment, joy, peace, happiness is not found in the amount and the value of our possessions but in knowing Jesus Christ as our personal lord and savior. Trust not in princes they are but mortal. Look to Him where He may be found. There and there alone will we find lasting peace and joy.

Under Jesus’ protection and by His gifts you can experience the best life can offer. Jesus can give a whole new meaning to living because He provides full satisfaction and perfect guidance. He is your sufficiency. With Him there is both peace and contentment.
[1] Anthony de Mello's 'The Way to Love.'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pentecost 9 - mid-week

Genesis 18:1-10a
Can you be hospitable when guests come for dinner unannounced? Three men from God came to Abraham at a time when guests usually do not arrive - "in the heat of the day" (v.1) probably at noon.
What's more, nothing was prepared! There was no food in the house. Sarah had to bake bread. Abraham had to go to the fields to slaughter a calf. All of this was done eagerly and gladly because Abraham saw these man as angels of God. Do we entertain very much in or day? Would we go these extremes which Abraham and Sarah did, or would we take our guests to a restaurant and put them up in a motel rather than in our homes?
There is a spiritual aspect to our text for this morning. Moses is teaching us more then having proper manners. What was it that Abraham saw in these unannounced dinner guests? All of the preparation Abraham did because he saw these men as angels of God. There is a need for hospitality for the strangers we entertain may be angels in disguise.
As we look at this text for this morning we need to see the even greater need for us to have fellowship with God.
True, having guests may be an inconvenience and a lot of hard, hard work. But when we entertain especially God and His representatives, we are blessed beyond measure. Let's consider this morning the rewards of entertaining.
1. The presence of God in the guests – “ And the Lord appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him. And when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth,” vss.1-2
Where do we find God today? Some say that God is nowhere to be found. The Soviets in the ‘60’s upon launching their spaceship into outer space informed the world that there was no God for they could not find Him in the outer recesses of the space and cosmos. Is that legitimate?
Abraham was searching for God thus he prepared himself to meet God where He would be found. What about us today? Do we search for God, and if we do, where do we look? God will be found in those places where He has determined to make Himself known. The challenge for us is twofold; first to believe that He can be found and second, to make ourselves accessible to those places where He has clearly told us that He will be found. That is what Abraham did. We must do the same. For what did Abraham find as he waited on the Lord? He found:
2. The fellowship and friendshipand he said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. - v.3
“Abraham saw three men coming towards him. These three men were three spiritual heavenly beings, now assuming human bodies, so that they might be visible to Abraham. Having assumed human form they were now able to converse with him.
Some think that they were all created angels, others that one of them was the Son of God, the angel of the covenant. Notice that Abraham distinguished Him from the rest (v. 3), and called Him Lord.”
(From Matthew Henry's Commentary Genesis 18:1-8 - Abraham's interview with the angels PP5)
Abraham desired to have an intimate relationship with God. He found it in the coming of these three. Do we desire to be this close to God? Do we desire such a fellowship with Him? Are we easily frustrated when we cry out to God desiring to have our prayers answered, when all we hear is silence?
Abraham serves us well in this case. He not only expected God to come but He took the time for Him by fellowshipping with Him. We too need to take time for God. Daily draw strength from Him by spending time with Him in His Word, by speaking to Him in prayer, by communing with Him in His meal by coming to His table.
Transition: Having expected God to come and taking time with Him Abraham received the word that He was needing to hear that a son would be born.
3. The miraculous gift of new lifeAnd he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round. And, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” - 10a
The promise was made, and in due time the promise was kept. God is famous for keeping His Word. He is ever faithful and sure to keep His every promise. Do we expect a miracle? Do we expect God to keep His Word to us? Certainly Abraham did; and he is no different then you or me. He had his own doubts and struggles. He was familiar with disappointment and grief. He knew what it meant to be on a course that seemed to be headed nowhere. He was just as confused about his future as anyone as he wandered aimlessly for years.
But there was one thing he was sure of and that was that the Father would keep His Word. A year later that promise was fulfilled in the birth of a son. So it is with your life. God will keep each and every promise spoken to you. It may not seem possible at the moment; it may not seem to be feasible by the Father is more then capable of meeting your every need. As He proved it in the life of Abraham and Sarah so He will fulfill it in your life as well. Of this we can be sure – the Lord will keep His Word!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Time in the Word - Pentecost 10 - Proper 13

The theme for this coming week is “possessed by possessions”. In the Gospel lesson Jesus refuses to champion the cause of one who wants his inheritance and goes on to teach by a parable that in the pursuit of wealth one can lose one’s soul. In the Old Testament lesson, the theme of vanity is shown when a man works hard to accumulate wealth only to leave it to one who did not work for it. In the Epistle lesson Paul gives us a contrast between heavenly virtues and earthly vices which are to be shunned.

Collect for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: O God, the Protector of all who trust in You, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy, increase and multiply Your mercy on us that with You as our Ruler and Guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for Proper 13: O Lord, grant us wisdom to recognize the treasures You have stored up for us in heaven that we may never despair but always rejoice and be thankful for the riches of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever.

For proper use of wealth: Almighty God, all that we possess is from Your loving hand. Give us grace that we may honor You with all we own, always remembering the account we must one day give to Jesus Christ our Lord.

For steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in the faith to the end and finally come to love everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Against the love of money: Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have called us to be Your children and heirs of Your gracious promises in Christ Jesus. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may forsake all covetous desires and the inordinate love of riches. Deliver us from the pursuit of passing things that we may seek the kingdom of Your Son and trust in His righteousness and so find blessedness and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Preparation for next week, the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday, 26 July 2010Psalm49:7-8, 13-14a, 15; antiphon, Psalm 49:1-2 God is the owner of the earth and all that is therein. In giving to God we merely return that which is His own. The vanity of life is explained in this psalm. Also this psalm teaches that death comes to all. This psalm is similar to Psalm 39. Psalm 49 is a meditation on life and death. A typical piece of wisdom on life’s inequalities. At the end of the line death waits for the materialist not even he can buy himself off. The “moral” is similar to that of Jesus’ parable of the rich man found in Sunday’s gospel.

Generally speaking the psalmists have no clear concept of life after death and verse 15 is therefore often taken as a reference to premature death. But this undermines the reasoning, which requires ironing out of this life’s inequalities beyond the grave.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010Psalm 100— Praise God. His mercy endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations. “The Lord is God” and “The Lord is Good” Let the whole earth sing and be glad.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-26— The vanity of accumulating wealth and leaving it to one who did not work for it. To get property, financial security, and a sizeable nest-egg, one usually must work hard and long for it, unless he inherited a fortune. To get ahead financially, a husband may work night and day, hold more than one job, and his wife may work, too. The question must often come to these people’s minds: Is it worth the work? Are our material desires and standards too high? Are we missing out on the better things of life by giving all our time and effort to making money? Our lesson speaks to these questions.

Thursday, 29 June 2010Colossians 3:1-11— A Christian seeks to acquire heavenly virtues and shuns earthly vices. Many live according to earthly values. Usual folks walk with heads down, seeing worldly things, and thinking negative thoughts. A Christian lives with his feet planted in two worlds – in this world of materials and vices, and in a higher world of heavenly values where Christ is. Since Christ has ascended, we on earth look to Him for our values, goals, and ideals while on earth. Our lives are impoverished by preoccupation with worldly values leading us into negative thoughts and wicked actions. The wagon of life needs to be hitched to the star of Christ.

Friday, 30 July 2010Luke 12:13-21— The parable of the rich fool. Jesus said, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” If it does not consist of material goods, of what does life consist? Most people feel that money is the key to real living. After winning the Irish Sweepstakes, a woman exclaimed, “Now I’m going to start living!” People need to know what makes life worthwhile.

Saturday, 31 July 2010Psalm 143:8 – The hymn of the week is “All Depends on Our Possessing” (LSB 732). This much loved hymn is best summed up in stanza three. Contemplate its impact in light of the readings for the week, “Many spend their lives in fretting over trifles and in getting things that have no solid ground. I shall strive to win a treasure that will bring me lasting pleasure and that now is seldom found.”

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Tenth Sunday after Pentecost from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pentecost 9 - Proper 12

July 25, 2010
Pentecost 9 – Proper 12
Luke 11:11-13
A God who loves to Give

We often think of God’s unwillingness to give. So, we use prayer, especially persistence, to eke out of God some favor to answer our needs. To get this answer, we are concerned about the quality of prayer and the pray-er. This is unnecessary according to Jesus in our text. God is more willing to give than we to ask. God lives to give.

1. Good gifts. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?” Vv. 11, 12

A. God, like a good father, gives only good gifts. The point is ‘you just can’t imagine a father who would do this!’ He is not reluctant to give gifts. He does not have to be persuaded to help. As a father gives only good gifts, God gives the same to his children.

B. If one asks for a fish, God does not give a serpent. Here the Savior teaches us how to pray the right way. We pray as a child to a magnificent Father, confidently as Abraham and the persistent and unrelenting friend did.

C. God’s gifts are only and always good, helpful for us. Even when God is silent. Persistence in prayer means we mean it. We are sincere., It is urgent. It may be a test of our faith. God’s timing is always perfect. When God is silent it may be that it is not the right time for God to answer. At the time we ask we may not be ready for the gift. If we do not keep asking, when the time is right, we may not be receptive.

2. The best gift. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" V. 13

A. The best gift is the Holy Spirit. Of all the gifts, the Holy Spirit is the best.

B. How many pray for the Spirit? How many realize the Spirit is the best gift God could ever give us?

C. Why is the Spirit the best gift? The Spirit is God. To Have the Holy Spirit is to have God in you, with you, for you.

Can there ever be anything better than God?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Children's talk - 6th & 7th Petition

For 40 days while He was being tested by the devil, Jesus didn’t eat a single thing. At the end of the forty days Jesus was hungry.
The devil said to Jesus, “Since You are God’s Son, tell this stone to turn into a little loaf of bread” Jesus answered, “The Bible says, “A man can’t live on bread alone.”
In one second the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. “I’ll make you the king over all of this” the devil said, “if You will get down on Your knees and worship me, and it will all be Yours!” Jesus answered, “The Bible says, get down on you knees before the Lord your God and worship only Him”
Then the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem and set Him on the highest roof of the Temple. “Since You are the Son of God, Jump! And God’s angels will take good care of you!” Jesus answered, “The Bible says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test!”
When the devil had finished all his tests, he left Jesus, waiting for the right time to come again.

6th Petition – Lead us not into temptation

Temptation means someone is trying to get me to sin or do bad things.

This Means
1. God does not try to get me to do bad things.

Who tries to get me to sin?
1. The devil
2. Other people
3. Myself

We pray that God will help me say no to sin and do what is good.

From God’s Word
Romans 8:31
- If God is for us, who can be against us?

Matthew 26:41Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.

7th Petition – But deliver us from evil

This Means
1. We pray that God will save us from the devil and all bad things that happen to us.
2. God knows what is best for me.
3. God uses all things for my good.
4. I ask God to bring me safely to live with Him in heaven.

From God’s Word
2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. [Heaven]

Romans 8:28We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use. Read With Me Bible – An NIV Story Bible for Children © 1993 by The Zondervan Corporation Grand Rapids, MI

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pentecost 8 - mid-week

Luke 10:25-37
An expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” he asks. The answer the Savior gives him puts this “young buck” in a rather awkward spot. “Wanting to justify himself” Luke tells us that he asks yet another question, “And who is my neighbor?” Upon hearing the parable of the Good Samaritan this expert answers his own question, Who is your neighbor – well, it’s, “The one who had mercy.” Mercy. We’re good at talking about it but here standing before us is mercy, with clothes on! The one who has mercy is like…
1. Not like the robbers who beat the man leaving him half dead.
A. To beat a man obviously does not show compassion. It demonstrates brutality, the same brutality that’s been know to man from the dawn of time. It was Kane who killed his brother Able. David had Uriah executed in battle to cover up an extramarital affair. The officials and nobles of the people stoned Stephen to death because they could not bear and could not handle hearing the truth. Do such things happen in our sophisticated world today?
B. Yet, how do we reach and react with words? We can kill a person’s reputation with our speech! All you would need to do is start a half-truth. If told enough times - within a week - it would be spread all over town - and in many sections of town - it would be believed!. And no matter what the innocent tries to do to regain his good name he cannot. People will believe what they want to hear. Sometimes being the victim of a soiled reputation due to rumor or innuendo or suspicion is worse then death!
Transition: The one who shows mercy is not the one who kills. Nor is the one who refuses to get involved.
2. Not like the Priest or Levite - who consider him DOA.
A. To come in contact with a dead body would cause one to be ceremonially “unclean.” The Priest and Levite had their own religious path set out before them. To stop and help this helpless soul would take time out of his already busy day. He had his course already set out. To stop and help would be an inconvenience. He had a schedule to be kept. After all, he was on his way to the service.
B. Can we become like this Levite or Priest, avoiding opportunities for service all the while making every effort to appear pious and sincere? Are we content to live in our own “comfort zone”? To show mercy often means we have to extend time and energy when we don’t want to. Often it means we will have to take time our of our busy schedules and our hurried live. Sometimes it means we will have to involve ourselves in the lives of others. In an episode of the sitcom M*A*S*H Frank Bernes refused to get involved in the life of another. He explained, “If I did that it would get messy. And I don’t like messy!” At times, our involvement means we will be taking the time to help when we know we are walking down a one-way street. There will not be an opportunity for that other person to repay – they can’t, or they won’t be able to. Some only help if they know the other will some day repay the favor. These two refused to show mercy because the timing wasn’t right. We show mercy because the Savior bids us to show mercy – period!
Transition: The Priest and Levite refused to offer mercy because it didn’t fit into their narrow definition of what mercy involves. The Savior doesn’t define mercy He offers it!
3. Like the Samaritan who bound his wounds and carried for him.
A. He bound up the man’s wounds. The Savior continues to bind up the wounds of many. He began His ministry showing mercy. Recall His first sermon – The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing!” (Luke 4:16-22)
B. He demonstrated compassion. He has shown compassion by bearing your sins in His own body on the tree of the cross. All of your sins, all of your imperfections, all of your troubles, scandals, and abominations He took to Himself. He has shown compassion by suffering dying and rising again for your sin. He drops them into the sea of forgetfulness and He remembers your sins no more!
C. He went beyond the call of duty. He didn’t have to do any of this. Yet His love for His Father and His love for you compelled Him to go to the cross. He goes beyond the call of duty by sustaining and directing your life every single moment of your life. He is not obligated to help you as we see sometimes define it.
His assistance in your life is not some sort of duty in which we are obliged to do something. It’s not as if it’s a favor we’re asking Him to perform for us. He acts for you - Purely out of Fatherly love goodness mercy without any worthiness in me. Thus it is my duty to thanks and praise to serve and obey Him. This is His attitude toward you.
D. He put faith into action. Quite frankly, the work of the Good Samaritan is a deeper story of Jesus and His great love for us. He is the one who has had mercy on you. He is the one who sought you out when all others left you for dead. He won’t desert you. He’ll never abandon you. He can never leave you or forsake you. He’ll never, ever, give up on His own! He is the one who has paid your debt and has promised to repay even more. Oh, how great is His compassion. “And who is my neighbor?” It is the one the Savior places in your life to show mercy, empathy, compassion. As the Savior so has shown His great love for you – show forth in your own lives His love, care and consideration.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Time in the Word - Pentecost 9, Proper 12

Persistent Prayer
Prayer is the obvious them for next Sunday. The Gospel deals with several aspects of prayer: 1 how to pray; 2 persistence in prayer; 3 God is willing to give good gifts to His children. The Old Testament lesson deals with Abraham’s reasoning with God: getting God not to destroy Sodom because of only 10 righteous souls. Having been reduced from 50 the Lord stops Abraham at his request of ten. Not even ten were found and thus the city was destroyed as is depicted in the woodcut on our cover. Prayer is often a wrestling with God, a spiritual struggle. The Lord encourages us to watch and pray to remain vigilant and on our guard.

Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost: Grant us Lord, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are pleasing in Your sight that we, who without You cannot do anything that is good, may by You be enabled to live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for Proper 12: O Lord, let Your merciful ears be attentive to the prayers of Your servants, and by Your Word and Spirit teach us how to pray that our petitions may be pleasing before You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever.

For an answer to prayer; Almighty God, You have promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in Your Son’s name. Mercifully incline Your ears to us who have now made our prayers and supplications to You, and grant that those things that we have faithfully asked according to Your will we may receive to meet our need and bring glory to Your; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in the faith to the end and finally come to love everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For the right understanding of Christ: Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life, grant us perfectly to know Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the way, the truth, and the life that following His steps we may steadfastly walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Monday, 19 July 2010Psalm 119:145-149; antiphon, Psalm 50:15 This psalm is based on The Hebrew Letter “Qoph” It’s theme- “Crying With The Whole Heart” David cries “Save me O lord and I will keep Your law.” As the psalm draws to a close, prayer for deliverance becomes more dominant.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010Psalm 138— This is a royal son of praise for God’s saving help against threatening foes. In many respects it is like Psalm 18 though it is more concise and direct. Two Hebrew four-line stanzas (Vv. 1-3, 6-8) develop the main theme; at the center a two line stanza (Vv. 4-5) expands the praise of the Lord to a universal company of earth’s royalty.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010Genesis 18:20-33— Abraham bargains with God not to destroy Sodom for the sake of 10 righteous people. In addition to the idea of persistence in prayer, our Old Testament lesson teaches us a number of timeless truths. God is concerned about conditions on earth. Vv. 20-21. We do not have a God high in the heavens who could not care less what happens on earth. In the case of Sodom, God Himself comes down to the city for a first-hand investigation. God knows and cares about the human condition. The wrath of God is real. In verse 22 God intends to destroy the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sin is punished. The wrath of God is visited upon the wicked. This applies to any city or nation at any period of history. A corrupt society will experience its consequences. In verse 25 Abraham tests God’s justice. Would God destroy the righteous along with the wicked? God would not do that; He is a just God. Vv. 27 and 30 speak concerning the attitude of one in prayer. Abraham realizes he has no right he had no right to speak to God, to approach God, to make any requests. This is the attitude of one who knows his finiteness and unworthiness to speak to God in prayer. Prayer is no friendly chat between equals. It is an audience with the Holy One, full of majesty and glory. Sodom was destroyed because 10 righteous people were not found in the city. Diogenes could not find one honest man in his land. Are there as many as 10 really righteous people in your city?

Thursday, 22 June 2010Colossians 2:6-15— Paul exhorts his people to live in Christ in whom dwells the fullness of God. We live on earth only once and almost everyone wants to get as much out of life as possible. But how do you achieve a happy and fulfilling life? Go to any bookstore and you will find scores of books promising a life that can be good, rich, happy and free of fear, worry, and guilt. That is life as it ought to be, the kind of life God means for us to enjoy. But how many readers of these books will then have that new life? When will the real life begin? There is no easy way to get real life. Christians get this life by living in Christ. Life is a by product of a one-to-one relationship with Christ. Paul gives us the procedure for living in Christ as a way to real life. The key is in verses six and seven. Contemplate these words.

Friday, 23 July 2010Luke 11:1-13— Jesus gives the Lord’s Prayer and teaches persistence in prayer. It is common practice for many to ask once and forget it. How long should we pray for something? Is unanswered prayer a “no” answer? In the Gospel for Sunday Jesus teaches that there is no limit to the number of times we pray. The friend wanting bread comes at midnight when his friend is in bed. The man wanting to borrow bread kept asking and pounding until in desperation he got out of bed and gave the food. It wasn’t because of friendship but because his friend would not quit bothering him. He would not take “No” for an answer. Jesus teaches that se should ask, see, and finally knock to get what we want. Persistence in prayer is necessary.

Saturday, 24 July 2010Matthew 6:5-13; 7:7-11 – The hymn of the week is “Come, My Soul, with Every Care” (LSB 779). In every need in every circumstance take it to the Lord in prayer.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Ninth Sunday after Pentecost from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.
Concordia Self Study Bible © 1886 Concordia Publishing House

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pentecost 8 - Proper 11

July 18, 2010
Pentecost 8 – Proper 11
Luke 10:38-42
Mary & Martha have Jesus for a meal in their home

The church today has too many Martha’s and too few Mary’s. We would rather be busy about church activities – suppers, programs, projects, building concerns, teas, bazaars, parties – then about spiritual concerns – prayer, worship, solitude, meditation, study, and reflection. As a result, we are a do-good society instead of a redemptive community. We skip on the surface without the depth of spirituality. We have engaged in social action, social causes, civil rights but we have run out of steam because we have neglected worship, prayer, and study. The Gospel for this day contrasts two women – one foolish for neglecting to learn from Jesus for the sake of physical food preparation; one is wise to neglect getting a meal for the sake of getting fed spiritually.

In our text we see:

1. Martha’s lack of wisdom – Vv. 40-42

A. Foolish to complain to Jesus about Mary. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"v.40

1. Martha was not a bad woman. She wasn’t a slacker or delinquent. She was a close friend of Jesus. She loved Him. She was an energetic worker for the kingdom.

2. She was active. In fact, that’s what was wrong with her she was too active. But if she were present in the congregation today, we wouldn’t hesitate a minute about calling her a good church member. She was good but she lacked wisdom and true insight.

B. Foolish to have her values confused. “Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,” v. 41

1. Martha was working for a good cause. She simply meant to serve the Lord. If the Lord wanted activity she was giving it. So sure was Martha she that she was doing the right thing that she asked Jesus to send Mary into the kitchen.

2. And what did Jesus do? He scolded her for her activity and praises the inactivity Mary. It was an unexpected turn of events. Martha was right in her serving but she became distracted in believing that activity for activities sake was necessary. The good of hearing God’s Word is better than the good of serving God. Project and meditation – both are good – but meditation is better. Committee work and worship – both are good – but worship is better. Activity to work for the Lord and passively to receive His Word – both are good – but given a choice, it is better that the Christian be passively listening to the voice of the Savior.

C. Foolish to miss the better things of life. “…only one thing is needed.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." v. 42

1. It is ideal to work and worship, to labor and listen, to serve and be served. That’s the ideal. That’s the way it should be.

2. But choosing between the two - worship is more important than the work, the listening more essential then the laboring and the being served is more blessed than the serving. Should a conflict between these two good things, serving the Lord and hearing His Word, the Christian, like Mary, chooses the good part and sits at Jesus feet.

2. Mary’s wisdom – Vv. 39, 42

A. Seized the opportunity to confer with Jesus.

1. There is so much in life which can tire us. We work long hours at our jobs. And in these trying and uncertain economic times many are called to work harder and smarter then before. Such effort can tire and exhaust us wearing us out draining our energy.

2. To be energized and refreshed we drink deep from the “still waters” of which our Good Shepherd Jesus leads us. We are strengthened from His Word and His meal as He increases our faith building us up in the faith as He speaks to us from His Word.

B. Listened and learned. “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.” v. 39

1. Mary chooses the good part and sits at the Savior’s feet. She thinks little of herself and more of Him. She walks away from the distractions of life and is able to focus on Him who has the words of eternal life.

2. You can’t do anything that is good unless you first get God and the only was for you to get God is to receive Him as He comes to you through His Word. In those places where He comes to you; Word, Water, Wafer, Wine then you are strengthened in him.

C. Sense of true value: “Mary has chosen the good part” –v.42

1. You can’t serve the Lord unless He first serves you. You can’t actually do good things unless the good Lord first comes into you through His Word and manufactures those good things. You can’t be a fruit-producing branch unless you’re first connected with the Vine.

2. You can’t really be a Martha serving in the kitchen unless your first are a Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. In the Christian life there can be no output without input.

A person can do what seems like good things without the Savior’s help. Our world is filled with hustles and bustlers engaged in many a good cause. But without Christ’s help their motives are all wrong and their methods are all wrong. We need to remember that God doesn’t simply want us to do god things; He is even more concerned that we let Him do them in us.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pentecot 7 - mid-week

Luke 10:1-9; 16
In Christ God’s kingdom comes to you. Jesus sends out His disciples into the world to witness. As He sent them in to the world He also sends you. Considers the Savior’s directive.
1. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Luke 10:3 Consider the territory the Lord is sending you.
A. The world is hostile to the cause of Christ. This is why you represent Christ to the world. Some may say, there’s a church on almost every corner. If someone wants to go to church, they can! Yet, throughout this text Jesus emphasizes the urgency of going out and witnessing through visitation which is essential today. People quite frankly will not come to the church. The church must go to the people. This is where the faithful witness of Christians from every walk of life impacts the world for Christ. People do not come to a church because of a program. They come because someone in their life has impacted them and invited them to come and meet Jesus.
B. The Savior sends you as lambs among wolves. Wolves would destroy helpless sheep. The forces of the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh are about seeking to destroy your faith. We must be aware of what we are up against. The devil is serious when it comes to your faith – he seriously wants to destroy it. He doesn’t want you to receive that peace which only the Savior can give. His desire is to see the church splinted, fractured and broken.
C. Thus our attitude must be that of meekness. Humbleness of heart is essential. Consider the encouragement of the Savior when He said in Matthew’s gospel, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30
D. This is our reality – we’re walking in a troubled world. Yet, we are shielded. Says St. Paul, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:11-17
Transition: As we are being sent into hostile territory we put on the full armor of God and place our reliance on Him who has saved us.
2. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. Luke 10:4
A. A classmate from the seminary did this – literally. He carried no identification, not even a bill fold. He carried no back pack, nor a suitcase, not even a change of clothing. He walked into Mexico - and greeted no one on his journey until he happen to come upon a house. From within the house someone called the police and he was whisked away by the authorities and spend a half a year in a Mexican prison. He took this verse literally, and it got him into trouble – literally! What is it that the Savior is getting at here? He’s speaking about our attitude. You need an attitude which is totally dependent upon Christ.
B. Your attitude needs to be – totally focused on Christ. Our reliance needs to be placed firmly on Christ. Without Him we are lost and abandoned in this troubled world. There should be nothing other then Christ as our center.
Transition: Have a faith completely reliant upon Christ we share with those who are of the same faith.
3. When you enter a house, first say, FRIEDHEIM! ‘Peace to this house. Luke 10:5
A. Whenever I read this verse I like to translate it as follows, “When you enter a house, first say, “Friedheim!” The Savior has truly blessed us here! This is a haven of peace and a harbor of hope – for lost and troubled souls. For here we find peace and rest for troubled souls.
B. Building peace and maintaining it is serious and difficult business. But a necessary task. My hope and prayer is that the peace of Christ would always rest at this place. Recall the words of our Savior, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” –John 14:27
Transition: Greeting our brothers and sisters in Christ sharing in this same faith will enable faith, hope and love to grow and flourish.
4. If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Luke 10:6
A. A man of peace will be a man of faith – Faith and peace will be self evident. As we share and life our faith that faith will grow. When faith and peace are evident it will not return back.
B. If there is no peace I that house ours remains. No one can believe for another, each is on their own. We reap what we sow – if we sow only to ourselves and to a corrupt nature we reap destruction. If we sow toward God we reap life – life with God now and life in the future which leads to eternal life.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Time in the Word - Pentecost 8, Proper 11

Fellowship with the Divine
Next Sunday may be called “Hospitality Day.” Human entertain divine beings at dinners. In the Gospel Martha and Mary have Jesus in their home for dinner, but only Mary gets fed by Christ while Martha is busy getting the meal ready. In the Old Testament lesson Abraham offers hospitality to three men from God and receives a blessing from them. The Epistle lesson is a continuation from last Sunday’s lesson from Colossians. Because of the cross which reconciled us to God, we may appear before Him with holiness. Before Christ, we could not approach God or be in His presence because were estranged from Him.
Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost: O almighty and most merciful God, of Your bountiful goodness keep us, we pray, from all things that may hurt us that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish whatever things You want done; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for Proper 11: O Lord, grant us the Spirit to hear Your Word and know the one thing needful that by Your Word and Spirit we may live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

For guidance in our calling: Lord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but on that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in the faith to the end and finally come to love everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For newness of life in Christ: Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of light now in the time of this mortal life in which Your Son, Jesus Christ, came to visit us in great humility, that in the Last Day, when He shall come again to glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to life immortal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Time in the Word 12-17 July 2010
Preparation for next week, the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday, 12 July 2010Psalm 119:57-60, 64; antiphon, Psalm 119:103— Psalm 119:57-64 is brought to you by the Hebrew Letter “”Heth” The Lord is the Psalmist’s true homestead because it is God’s law that fills the earth with all that makes life secure and joyous. So God’s promises are his hope and God’s righteous laws are his delight.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010Psalm 27— Devotion to God’s House. David speaks of fearless trust in God. God - the strength of his life. David loved to sing, and to pray and to wait on the Lord. The man whose priorities are right (Vv. 4, 8) has nothing to fear (Vv. 1-3, 5-6). He knows where to turn in trouble (Vv. 7-12) and his hope is well founded. (Vv. 13-14)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010Genesis 18:1-18a—At the oaks of Mamre, Abraham feeds three angels of God. At least two of the “men” were angels. The third was the angel of the Lord or the Lord Himself. [See Vv. 1,13,17,20, 26, 33, and especially verse 22] Abraham politely addressed one of his guests as “my lord” and called himself “your servant” (Vv. 3, 5) a common way of speaking when addressing a superior. Hebrews 13:2 is probably a reference to Vv. 2-8 and 19:1-3. Abraham and Sarah were rewarded beyond measure. They entertain the Lord Himself Vv. 1-2 and they are given the miraculous gift of new life. Vs. 10a Note: The woodcut below is a depiction of what transpires in the verses immediately following our lesson.

Thursday, 15 June 2010Colossians 1:21-28—Through the cross Christ reconciled those once estranged that they might be blameless before God and Paul explains the purpose of his sufferings and ministry. Paul explains so much in just a few verses. In Vv.21-23 Paul explains the nature of the gospel, the way of salvation, with an appeal to remain steadfast in the faith. In verse 24, there is the difficult passage concerning Paul’s sufferings completing Christ’s afflictions. In Vv. 26-27 Paul speaks about the mystery of the gospel. The purpose of one’s ministry, the goal of the church’s work is in verse 28: “So we preach Christ to everyone…in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ.” Maturity in Christ is the goal in thinking, understanding, in attitude, and in practice.

Friday, 16 July 2010Luke 10:38-42— Jesus visits with Martha and Mary in their home. The church needs to reach out into the world demonstrating the compassion of Christ. This is seen in the work of Martha. The church at the same time needs to become a redemptive community – demonstrated by the actions of Mary. Mary chose to fulfill that need by sitting at His feet to learn from Jesus. We can not neglect physical bread for spiritual bread. Both are needed. But which is more important? In the Gospel text Jesus answers this: “Mary chose “the good portion.” Donating food, clothing, shelter, medical care and the like is important yet the Savior encourages us to give top priority to the spiritual needs of life.

Saturday, 17 July 2010 - Romans 3:23-25 – The hymn of the week is “O Savior, Precious Savior” (LSB 527). Having come into the presence of Christ, having heard His Word having communed with Him at His altar, having received His promise of reconciliation in the words of the Absolution we are encouraged to praise the name of the Lord. The words of this much loved hymn finds its focus on Christ and the true worship He is due. Come tomorrow to the Divine Service expecting to be drawn by the Savior to those means of grace that He gives us.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Eighth Sunday after Pentecost from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.
Concordia Self Study Bible © 1886 Concordia Publishing House

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Children's talk - Introduction to the Lord's Prayer

One day Jesus was praying
One of His friends asked Him “Jesus teach us to pray”
Jesus said, when you are praying, you must say
“Father Your name must be kept holy
Your Kingdom must come
Keep on giving us each day the food we need for the next day.
And forgive us our sins, for we also try to forgive everyone who does bad things to us.
And don’t let us be led into temptation.”

We pray to our Father in heaven as Jesus taught us.

1. What is prayer?
Prayer is talking to God in our minds or with our voices.
a. I can pray silently in my mind.
b. I can pray out loud with my voice.
c. Because I am God’s child and He is my Father I can pray anywhere.

2. Who can pray to God?
God listens to everyone who believes in Jesus.

3. Where can I pray?
We may pray at home
We may pray at church
We may pray in the field
We may pray in the cab of the tractor
We may pray everywhere.

4. When does God want me to pray?
God wants us to pray anytime
God wants us to pray often

Our Father who art in heaven
This means …
God is our dear Father and we are God’s dear children
Jesus paid for our sins so God will always hear us
We will want to talk to God our Father often
I pray – God listens
I speak- God hears
I ask- God answers
I listen- God talks loud and clear in the Bible

From God’s Word
Psalm 91:15 – The Lord says, “Call upon Me, and I will answer.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray always

Jesus You have walked with me
And showed me what to do.
In Your Word You tell me all
To “Love as I loved you.”

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pentecost 7 - Proper 10

Luke 10:25-37

Nearly all of you are well acquainted with the Gospel lesson today. We heard the familiar parable of the “Good Samaritan” which to mind the story of a priest, and a Levite (supposedly holy men) passing by a wounded man lying on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho and a Samaritan who saves that man from dying. While many aspects of the New Testament may be unfamiliar to our society, the term “Good Samaritan” gets thrown around a lot. In the newspapers or on Fox News we occasionally read and hear stories about people who go out of their way to help others in need. Headlines read, “Good Samaritan Pulls Victim from the Water” and “Good Samaritan Helps Police Make Arrest.” Since we are bombarded by stories of tragedy and loss in the media and on the news, “Good Samaritan” stories do come as a welcome relief. Good, so our culture understands what Jesus is telling us through this parable, right? Or does it somehow miss the point about the parable of the “Good Samaritan”? While the theme of coming to someone’s aid is indeed an aspect of Jesus’ parable, it only scratches at the surface of what Jesus wants you and me to learn from the Gospel lesson this morning. We will learn that there is only one true “Good Samaritan” only one truly good neighbor that rescues a world in need. Our Gospel lesson teaches that,

I. The way to inherit eternal life is through perfectly keeping the law.
1. So how can we as Christians understand this parable so differently from the rest of our culture? First of all, we need to pay attention to how the parable starts. Our text reads, “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” While his motives for coming to Jesus may not have been pure, (the text says he came to test Jesus) the lawyer’s question is extremely important. He wants to know from Jesus himself how he can inherit eternal life. Not only that, he wants to know what he can personally do to earn that life. Even though we discover through his wording that he recognizes that eternal life must be inherited, as a son inherits a family estate, he still thinks that there is something that he must do to make eternal life a reality.
2. Jesus replies to the lawyer’s question with a question of his own. “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” Jesus asks this not to evade the question but to give the lawyer a clear understanding of what earning eternal life really means. So the lawyer answers “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” This lawyer is no slouch. He knows the law well enough that he quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” and Leviticus 19:18 “love your neighbor as yourself.” By doing that he rightly captures the essence of the God’s law. Jesus tells him as much. He says, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” Jesus makes it clear that the only way a person can earn eternal life is through keeping the demands of God’s law. The lawyer in today’s text understood at this point that the law could be demanding more than he could do himself. So trying to find a way out, or as our text puts aptly puts it, desperately wanting to justify himself the lawyer tries to mitigate the law’s demands. So he asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Application: You can see the problem the lawyer finds himself in. It’s easy to love your neighbor as yourself if your neighbors are none other than your close family and friends. If those people were your neighbors then you might have a shot at keeping the law’s requirement of loving your neighbor as yourself. But what about the new family who just moved in down the street? What about the new kid in your classroom? What about those in-laws that you have never gotten along with? Why should they be our neighbors? Unfortunately, in our sinful and fallen nature all of us would much prefer a short list of neighbors to love. For as often as there are stories about “Good Samaritans” coming to the rescue in the news, there seems to be twice as many stories about someone being in trouble, needing help, and no one does a thing. Just this past week, I found a news story about how bystanders did nothing as an elderly man was beaten in a carjacking outside a convenience store. Other disturbing stories recount how children are abused and beaten on playgrounds as others just stand around and watch. There is even a psychological term that has been coined, called “the bystander effect,” which tries to make sense as to why people do nothing when they witness someone in trouble. And even when identifying strangers as neighbors is hard enough, how often do we fail to love our family and friends as we should?
II. When we realize who our neighbors really are, we discover that we cannot keep the law.
1. Jesus makes clear though the parable that a neighbor could be anyone. It could even be the man who was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. The priest and the Levite kept their distance from the dying man on the side of the road. By avoiding him they denied that the man was their neighbor; that he meant anything to them at all. The Samaritan, however, saw the dying man and felt compassion. His heart went out to him. It is interesting to note that the same Greek word is used in describing how the Samaritan felt and how Jesus felt when he saw the Widow at Nain come out of the town with her son in a coffin. It was not just simple compassion the Samaritan felt, it is a heartfelt, gut wrenching pity that moved him to help the dying man no matter what the cost was.
2. But it isn’t enough to recognize who is your neighbor, what is also required is that we are good neighbors to those who need it. When Jesus asked the lawyer at the end of the parable, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The answer was the Samaritan. He not only recognized who his neighbor was he was also a true neighbor in return.
3. So where do we stand in relation to this parable? When we try to justify ourselves, like the lawyer in this lesson, we become like the priest and the Levite who ignore the dying man on the road. We feel nothing when we fail to help those who need it and we come up with excuses and try to limit who our neighbors could be. If however we can see that we fail to keep God’s law to love him with all our heart mind and soul and that we fail to love our neighbors as ourselves, then we recognize the truth about our sinful and fallen condition. We recognize that there is nothing that we can do on our own to earn or merit eternal life, as the lawyer in our text wanted to. When we understand this we become like the robbed and beaten man on the side of the road in need of rescue. In that man’s condition there was nothing he could do to help himself. And in the same way, when we are beaten down by our own sins, when we realize that we love ourselves more than God or our neighbors, we are rendered helpless.
III. Christ rescues us from the wounds of sin by perfectly keeping the law for us.
1. But dear friends in Christ, I have good news for you today! Jesus Christ is our true Good Samaritan who came and found us when the Devil, the world, and our flesh left us dying on the side of the road. When we could not keep the law of God to earn eternal life, Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life that kept God’s law perfectly. On the cross he exchanged his glory and the eternal life that were rightly his for our sins, our shortcomings and our punishment of death. From his heartfelt compassion, he selflessly lifted up our sins on the cross to remove them forever from us. By his own wounds ours have been healed. So in the same way as the Samaritan paid for the restoration of health of the dying man, so Christ has paid for our everlasting health through his suffering and death on the cross. There is only one true Good Samaritan in this parable and it is Jesus Christ himself. Unlike us, he will never just stand by and watch as we are torn apart by the powers of this world. No, he comes to our rescue and saves us every time we are in trouble. When we call on his name in prayer we have the absolute confidence and assurance from God’s Word that he hears us and that he helps us by his good and gracious will.
2. Dear friends, we have inherited eternal life, not by anything we have done, but by what Christ has done. Through his work on the cross we have been reconciled to the Father. Since we are reconciled, we have become heirs to his eternal kingdom. St. Paul writes in Galatians chapter 3, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.” We have been made heirs to eternal life through Christ’s saving work. Through faith in that promise we will receive that gift.
IV. Through Christ, we love and serve our neighbor as he loves and serves us.
1. Now that we know how we as Christians understand the parable of the Good Samaritan, we know that any good work done by us to help our neighbor is not really our own work, but it is Christ working through us. As Jesus found us and rescued us from our wounds, so we look to help all our neighbors. We welcome the new family into our neighborhood. We pray for and provide for the needy through our donations of time and goods. When we see someone who does need help, we go out of our way to help them. We don’t do this to show how good we are, but to show the world how much Christ loves us.
2. When I was studying late one cold winter night this past year at the seminary, a friend of mine stopped by to say hello. We were both having a tough time keeping up with our studies but I was encouraged by my friend’s concern long hours in the library as I worked on a paper that was due that week. A few minutes after my friend left, he returned with a small takeout bag from McDonalds and insisted that I take the bag and have some food to hold me over till I get home. I couldn’t help but think to myself how blessed I was to have such a great Christian friend who somehow knew how hungry I was without even asking. I thought to myself at the time, and still do today, that this is how Christ serves us through our life in this world, through our neighbors’ actions. The great Good Samaritan moves us through the power of the Holy Spirit to spread his mercy to anyone who needs it. Thanks be to God for the gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation made possible through Jesus Christ and opportunities to serve in his name every day.

sermon written by Sem. Brian Flamme
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

Pentecost 6 - mid-week

Luke 9:51-62
There are many excuses for people not wanting to follow the Savior. There were plenty of excuses given then and there are plenty today. Commitment to Christ requires total surrender. We encounter numerous excuses not to follow Christ in the Scriptures. The question for us to ponder today, have things changed over the years? Let’s consider what the Savior was up against shall we?
1. “I will follow you wherever you go” – Such a bold statement! One of unswerving and unwavering faith! Yet, consider the response the Savior gives this bold confession: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
A. I will follow so long as I am not inconvenienced. I’ll follow You Lord as a disciple - as long as my creature comforts are not compromised. I will follow - as long as I do not have to get involved in the lives and concerns of others.
B. What this excuse says loud and clear is - don’t make discipleship too difficult. This could happen when one might complain that the service went over an hour. Yet would we even blink an eye if a Wizards game, for example, went into extra innings? Or if we limit our time of discipleship to a few hours a month have we become overly taxed?
2. The 2nd excuses “Let me burry my father” – Jesus responds by saying, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
A. Do not allow personal relationships to get in the way.
B. Do we not want anything to be inconvenient or problematic for us? Does everything have to fit into a perfect timetable? We don’t want anything awkward some may say. But is this always possible?
C. Jesus’ response reminds us that there is urgency about our relationship with Him. Being a disciple demands an immediate response. Jesus’ response is a sobering one at that! Not even something as important as arranging and attending your parent’s funeral should keep you from responding.
The point the Savior is making is a profound one – The Kingdom of God cannot wait until you fulfill lesser responsibilities. There will always be commitments demanding our time, our attention, and our resources. The issue we must address is our priorities – what is the most important? What is your first love? Where is your passion?
3. “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.” Jesus replied. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
A. We need a total focus to the task at hand. Proclaiming and sharing the truth of the Gospel, and then reaching out to our neighbors and friends with the message of the cross. Paul said, “I desire to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
B. We need to keep our focus on Christ. May the main thing always be - the main thing. There needs to be a singleness of purpose in our lives. No one who plows looks back! The eye is on the goal ahead. You cannot go back. Paul would remind us, “One thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind…” A true disciples has a one track mind, there is one purpose in life, one task, one devotion – the person Jesus Christ.
What is your purpose in life? Follow the example of Christ He knew where He was going and His mission and why He was doing it. He had a total commitment to the Father’s call to be the world’s Savior. He gave us these words “when the days drew near for Him to be received up.” (Vs. 51) He knew the time was short, that His days were numbered, that He must work while it was day for soon of night of Calvary would come. His mission was to give His life as a ransom for the sin of the world. Your mission is to share His story with those whom the Lord places into your life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Time in the Word - Pentecost 7 - Proper 10

Benefits of Obedience
Sunday’s theme might well be called “Obedience Sunday.” Both Gospel (Luke 10:25-37) and other lessons deal with God’s commandments. The Epistle lesson (Colossians 1:1-14) calls upon the people to lead lives worthy of Christ. We are in the position of children, who, when told to do something, ask, “Why?” Often the parent answers, “Because I said so.” Why obey God’s laws? The Lessons give the answer – the benefits of obedience. The parable of the Good Samaritan is a sub point to the question raised in the Gospel. It answers the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The parable serves as an illustration of one who obeys the command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

For responsible citizenship: Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of ht earth. Grant that we may choose trustworthy leader, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and serve You faithfully in our generation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For purity: Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in the faith to the end and finally come to love everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For faith, hope, and love: Almighty God, grant us a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hop in Your mercy, and a sincere love for You and one another; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Time in the Word 05-10 July 2010
Preparation for next week, the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Monday, 05 July 2010Psalm 136:23-26; antiphon, Psalm 136:1— Psalm 136 seems to be an expansion of Psalm 135, about God’s mighty works of Creation and in His dealings with Israel, arranged for antiphonal singing. The phrase “His mercy endures forever” occurs in every verse. It is called a “Hallel” Psalm, was sung at the opening of the Passover, and was a favorite Temple Song (see 1 Chronicles 16:41; 2 Chronicles 7:3; 20:21; Ezra 3:11) The description of God’s great works in creation (Vv.4-9) and in history (Vv.10-24) alternate with the people’s refrain to God’s unchanging timeless love.

Tuesday, 06 July 2010Psalm 41— This psalm is David’s pray for mercy when he was seriously ill. His enemies greet the prospect of his death with malicious glee. Even his once close friends betray his friendship see verse 9. Psalm 41 concludes a collection of four psalms connected by common themes, and also form the conclusion to the first section of the book of Psalms. (Psalms 1- 41) In its structure, the psalm is very symmetrical, composed of four stanzas of three verses each. The first and fourth stanzas frame the prayer with a note of confidence; stanzas two and three elaborate the prayer. Verse 13 is a doxology that closes Book I.

Wednesday, 07 July 2010Leviticus 19:9-18— Obedience demanded from the Lord your God. Notice throughout the Old Testament reading that the people are reminded, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 18:1) God’s people are given instructions concerning a morality reflecting God’s holiness. God was preparing His people for a life different from their pagan neighbors, whose life-style was deplorably immoral. Our lesson is an expansion of the Ten Commandments as the Lord gives detail as to how and why we must live. We live in obedience because of the relationship with have been given with our God.

Thursday, 08 June 2010Colossians 1:1-14— Obedience pleases God. In daily life we are accustomed to being transferred, and with each transfer we hope it means a promotion with larger salary. We may transfer schools. We may get a transfer at work from one department to another one. The company may transfer us to another city. In our Epistle Paul talks about the greatest transfer of all: from darkness to the light of God’s kingdom. Everyone needs this transfer because we are born into the world of sin and need to be delivered. Has this transfer taken place in your life?

Friday, 09 July 2010Luke 10:25-37— Obedience leads to eternal life. The common understanding of a neighbor is one who lives close to you in a neighborhood. In today’s world this is not necessarily the case. Many do not even know even the name of the family who lives in the apartment down the hall, nor the couple living in the adjoining townhouse. Using this definition of “neighbor,” the lawyer was sure he was exempt from the law to love your neighbor. In the parable, Jesus gives a new understanding of a neighbor; he is one who is in need of your assistance given out of love.

Saturday, 10 July 2010 - Romans 3:23-25 – The hymn of the week is the great hymn of faith “By Grace I’m Saved” (LSB 566). The glory God intended man to be is the glory that man had before the fall. (See Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:5-6; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10. Believers in Christ will again have this glory through faith in Jesus Christ. (See Hebrews 2:5-9)

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Seventh Sunday after Pentecost from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.

Concordia Self Study Bible © 1886 Concordia Publishing House

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Pentecost 6 - Proper 9

Luke 10: 16
Get a move on!

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." - Luke 10:16

Who are you? As a follower of Jesus Christ you are His ambassadors – a representative of the Savior who speaks and acts in the place of Christ. You are Christ’s surrogates! Some may ask, “So, what’s the hurry?” There must be concern for there are people missing from the Father’s table. Yet, there are some who have become indifferent showing little concern for those outside. “There is a church on almost every corner! I can see three steeples from my back yard! If they want to go to church – pick one!” Or, we think one religion is as good as the next. Or we say our neighbors live as good a life as most church members. This is not the feeling of Jesus about winning people for the Kingdom. Throughout our text – Jesus emphasizes the urgency of going out and witnessing through visitation. Yes, visitation which is essential today because people will not come to the church. The church must therefore meet people where they are. Today we examine the urgency of winning people for Christ.

1. The condition of this world – v.3 “Lambs in the midst of wolves.”
A. This is how the Savior viewed the people of His day. The Savior saw people who were lost, without purpose, lonely and fearful.

B. Does this not describe the people of our day? Today we celebrate America’s independence. We live in the most affluent countries of the world and yet, this affluence has not helped to cure the hurt of so many. Why have so many lost their way? They are Lambs in the midst of wolves and are missing from the Father’s table.

2. The time is ripe – v.2 “the harvest is plentiful.”

A. Another wheat harvest is upon us. When I put the initial notes together for this sermon spring had was just beginning to break. A cover of snow had remained on it for most of the winter. Fields were beginning to green up. How would the growing season go? Soon we shall know.

B. In a far more significant way there is a harvest of souls waiting. Peter was called to be a fisher of men. In your life, in your interaction with family, co-workers, neighbors and friends the Savior gives you opportunity to be a witness for him. Who will go to them? If not you – who?

3. Avoid delays – v.3 “salute no one on the road.”

A. There was a singleness of purpose in the Savior’s words. There should be no delays, no interruptions, no distractions. There was a harvest ready. It was time to go now! It was time to move.

B. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the time to make use of every opportunity the Lord gives us to share His message of salvation. We go now because there might be another opportunity. There might not be a tomorrow. Avoid delays, avoid distractions. With a singleness of purpose share the gospel.

4. The imminence of the Kingdom – v.9 “The Kingdom of God has come to you.’

A. Although they did not know it, for they could not recognize Him, the Lord of life was in their midst. God had come to visit His people. The people need to hear the message of salvation.

B. Today the Savior calls us to share this same message “The Kingdom of God has come to you” Make use of every opportunity the Lord gives you to gossip the gospel sharing His story with all you meet.

These words, spoken by men seem so ordinary, so common. But if that word has its basis in God’s written Word, Holy Scripture, it is God’s effective way of bringing His kingdom near. God continues to bring his kingdom near through people and the words they speak. May the Lord use you as you speak His Word to your neighbors, family and friends.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use