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Advent 1 Sunday December 1, 2019: Seeing God in the World

The first Sunday of the new church year always brings readings about the end of things. As Christians we begin at the end. We know the ultimate outcome. The question is not what will happen, but what will the journey be like on the way there. 

 

Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44

Jesus describes his second coming as a sudden, turbulent event that will bring about deep change to our normal, day-to-day lives. Therefore, he urges people to stay awake, be aware, and wait expectantly, because the Son of Man will come unannounced.
[Jesus said to the disciples,] 36“About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

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Advent 1 Sunday December 1, 2019: Seeing God in the World

Advent 1 Sunday December 1, 2019: Seeing God in the World

The first Sunday of the new church year always brings readings about the end of things. As Christians we begin at the end. We know the ultimate outcome. The question is not what will happen, but what will the journey be like on the way there. 

 

Gospel: Matthew 24:36-44

Jesus describes his second coming as a sudden, turbulent event that will bring about deep change to our normal, day-to-day lives. Therefore, he urges people to stay awake, be aware, and wait expectantly, because the Son of Man will come unannounced.
[Jesus said to the disciples,] 36“About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Vices and Virtues Sermon for Christ the King Sunday 11-24-19

Vices and Virtues Sermon for Christ the King Sunday 11-24-19

The theme running through the seven deadly sins is me. Follow each of them: Wrath, envy, pride, sloth, gluttony, lust and greed and in the end they make the world all about me. Jesus invites us into a relationship with him. As we ponder the gift of the cross we cannot help but be led to care for others and the world God made. We can’t help but begin to reflect the holy virtues. 

Gospel: Luke 23:33-43

Amid scoffing and slander from those who sarcastically call him Messiah and king, Jesus reveals that to be Messiah and king is to give one’s life for others. Here he uses his power to welcome a despised sinner to paradise but puts his own death into God’s hands.
33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34⟦Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”⟧ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Sermon Reformation Sunday October 27, 2019

Sermon Reformation Sunday October 27, 2019

Every 500 years or so changes comes to the church in a significant way. We are now in the middle of one of those times. This is a challenge and an opportunity for the church.

 

Gospel: John 8:31-36

Jesus speaks of truth and freedom as spiritual realities known through his word. He reveals the truth that sets people free from sin.
31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Sermon October 20, 2019: Wrestling with God

Sermon October 20, 2019: Wrestling with God

Faith is not just a box to check and move on from. This day is an invitation to wrestle with God and with faith. To embrace the challenge of doubt and the promises of baptism. 

 

First Reading: Genesis 32:22-31

Returning to the home he had fled many years before after stealing his brother’s birthright and his father’s blessing, Jacob wrestles all night long with a divine adversary who ultimately blesses him and changes his name to “Israel,” a name that means “he wrestles with God.”
22The same night [Jacob] got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 27So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 29Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 31The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Sermon Sunday October 6, 2019: The Little Things: Luke 17:5-10

Sermon Sunday October 6, 2019: The Little Things: Luke 17:5-10

We all get overwhelmed and like the disciples who hasn’t asked for a little more faith? It can be easy to forget acts of faithfulness are not just in the big things, but in small everyday acts of grace and compassion as well. 

 

Gospel: Luke 17:5-10

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus instructs his followers about the power of faith and the duties of discipleship. He calls his disciples to adopt the attitude of servants whose actions are responses to their identity rather than works seeking reward.
5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’ ”

Sermon September 29: St Michael and All Angels: Testimony

Sermon September 29: St Michael and All Angels: Testimony

In Revelation Michael, God’s angel messenger wins by the cross of Christ and the word of faithful testimony. Testimony might be one of the Lutheran tradition’s greatest weaknesses. Yet this is how Satan is defeated and hell is crushed underfoot.

 

Second Reading: Revelation 12:7-12

Armed with the power of God, Michael and the angels of God fight those armed with the power of evil, the devil and the devil’s angels. The “blood of the Lamb,” our crucified Lord Jesus, gives Michael the power to force the devil from a place in heaven.
7War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming,
 “Now have come the salvation and the power
  and the kingdom of our God
  and the authority of his Messiah,
 for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down,
  who accuses them day and night before our God.
11But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb
  and by the word of their testimony,
 for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.
12Rejoice then, you heavens
  and those who dwell in them!
 But woe to the earth and the sea,
  for the devil has come down to you
 with great wrath,
  because he knows that his time is short!”

Sermon Sunday September 15, 2019: It was never about the sheep!

Sermon Sunday September 15, 2019: It was never about the sheep!

It was never about the sheep. It was always about the infinite worth of each human being and about the joy of God in claiming the lost. And sometimes God’s joy comes from reclaiming you!

 

Gospel: Luke 15:1-10

Jesus tells two stories that suggest a curious connection between the lost being found and sinners repenting. God takes the initiative to find sinners, each of whom is so precious to God that his or her recovery brings joy in heaven.
1Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to [Jesus.] 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3So he told them this parable: 4“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
8“Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Sermon: Sunday September 8, 2019 Welcome Back! Luke 14:25-33

Sermon: Sunday September 8, 2019 Welcome Back! Luke 14:25-33

Today we mark the beginning of another year of Sunday School and fall programs with the reminder from Jesus that unless we give up all our possessions we cannot be his disciples. If we have ever needed the grace of God this is the day! Learn also about Philemon and Onesimus and Paul and the sacrifices Jesus invites us to. 

 

Gospel: Luke 14:25-33

Jesus speaks frankly about the fearsome costs of discipleship. Those who follow him should know from the outset that completing the course of discipleship will finally mean renouncing all other allegiances.
25Now large crowds were traveling with [Jesus;] and he turned and said to them, 26“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

Inviting Everyone: Sermon Sunday September 1, 2019 Luke 14:1, 7-14

Inviting Everyone: Sermon Sunday September 1, 2019 Luke 14:1, 7-14

Jesus once more reminds us of his mission: to proclaim good news to the last, the lost and the least and invites us to be partners with him in that ministry. This is who we are called to be as we are reminded through our mission statement: Lutheran Church of the Master is a Faith Led Fellowship Called to Serve All in Jesus Name.

Gospel: Luke 14:1, 7-14

Jesus observes guests jockeying for position at the table. He uses the opportunity to teach his hearers to choose humility rather than self-exaltation. Jesus also makes an appeal for hosts to mimic God’s gracious hospitality to the poor and the broken.
1On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
7When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Standing Tall and Praising: Sermon August 25, 2019 Luke 13:10-17

Standing Tall and Praising: Sermon August 25, 2019 Luke 13:10-17

Jesus heals the bent over woman on the sabbath as a reminder to us all the point of the sabbath is to release people from their burdens. As we stand tall singing God’s praise with her, we are called to us our gifts to bring in the kingdom of God and release all people from their suffering and burdens.

 

Gospel: Luke 13:10-17

Jesus heals a woman on the sabbath, offering her a new beginning for her life. When challenged by a narrow reading of the sabbath command, Jesus responds by expanding “sabbath work” to include setting people free from bondage.
10Now [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

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