Happenings

Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.





27 July 2014

Sermon: Trinity 6 (Epistle)

27 July AD 2014
Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Title: Dead and Alive (MP3 Audio)

Baptismal Flood Summary: Unlike the old westerns, where villains were wanted “dead or alive,” God wants us both dead and alive. In Baptism, God both slays the sinner and raises up from that death a saint. He takes us to cross and tomb and into the new life of the eternal kingdom.

This life, then, is the ongoing conflict of sinner and saint — both of which we remain until the end of time. The Old Adam keeps rousing itself, an animated corpse of decay and death. And through repentance and Absolution, God keeps putting it to death and raising us to life as new creatures.

Text: What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:1-11

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Dead and Alive. Preached to the saints of God at Trinity Lutheran Church, Norborne, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 19; Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 5:(17-19) 20-26

death, life, dead, alive, crucifixion, resurrection, baptism, law, gospel, jesus, christ Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

20 July 2014

Sermon: Trinity 5 (OT)

20 July AD 2014
Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Title: What Are You Doing Here? (MP3 Audio)

Lutheran Communion Summary: “What are you doing here?” the Lord asked Elijah — and He asks you, also. Why do you attend church? Why are you listening to this sermon? Why are you where you are in your life? For what are you looking? In whom do you trust? In what do you hope?

Elijah’s discouragement came close on the heels of the impressive victory over the priests of Baal. Likewise, we often and quickly forget God’s closeness to us and ignore the victory His Son won for us.

He wants us to know why we come to Him — for forgiveness, life and salvation. He points out our sins so He might take them from us and forgive our guilt. He proclaims that His Son’s death won for us everlasting life. He builds faith that we might trust our salvation in Jesus Christ. He gives these wonderful gifts through Word and sacrament.

He also wants to strengthen us “in fervent love toward one another,” as we pray in one of the traditional close-of-service prayers (cf. 1 Peter 1:22-23; 4:8). The Holy Spirit brings us into the Church so that we might know that we are not the only ones left among the faithful and that each of us are united as one in the body of Christ.

What are you doing here? God willing, you are receiving His grace and are taking away refreshment and restoration so you might continue living “in faith toward [God] and in fervent love toward one another” as long as He grants you breath.

Elijah in the Cave Text: And [the Lord] said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.”

And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”

And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.”

And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”

And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him. 1 Kings 19:11-21

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of What Are You Doing Here?. Preached to the saints of God at Trinity Lutheran Church, Norborne, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 16; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 or 1 Peter 3:8-15; Luke 5:1-11

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13 July 2014

Sermon: Proper 10A (OT)

13 July AD 2014
Pentecost 5

Title: Purposeful Precipitation (MP3 Audio)

Isaiah 55:10-13 Summary: Without God’s presence, we are dry, lifeless, empty deserts. We cannot do any good for others, nor can we aid ourselves. We become truly alive only when God comes in mercy, forgiving, refreshing, and renewing us, just as soft rains and gentle snows bring fresh growth from barren ground.

Christ, poured out His blood to cover over, pay for, forgive, and remove our sins. Through the Word, God pours out Christ Himself upon us, the refreshing, living water from heaven.

Text: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 55:10-13

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Purposeful Precipitation.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 65:(1-8) 9-13; Romans 8:12-17; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

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06 July 2014

Sermon: Proper 9A (Gospel)

6 July AD 2014
Pentecost 4

Title: Resting in Peace (MP3 Audio)

Matthew 11:25-30 Summary: Even if they don’t realize it, all who live on earth are pressed and stressed by more than gravity and their own body weight. Sin, death, and devil, physical, emotional pain, and spiritual pain, fear, loneliness, doubt, and dread all conspire to weigh us down and wear us out.

So what does Christ do? He offers to exchange our burden — the load He already carried to the cross — for the load that sits upon each of us poor, sinful creatures. His burden isn’t intended to crush but to guide, guard, heal, and restore. His burden is the unbelievable weight of forgiveness in His glorious name — majestically heavy beyond earthly measure yet light and uplifting when worn by believers.

When we wear Jesus’ yoke, devil, world, and sinful flesh find no place to hang their own yokes and burdens. There is no way we can be worn down and used up when Christ is uplifting and sustaining us through Word and Sacrament.

Text: At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Resting in Peace.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 145:1-14; Zechariah 9:9-12; Romans 7:14-25a

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29 June 2014

Sermon: St. Peter and St. Paul (Gospel and Psalm)

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
29 June AD 2014

Title: Built on the Rock (MP3 Audio)

Built on the Rock Summary: Neither Paul nor Peter chose to stand on the rock. Instead, the Rock that “was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4)” drew them and secured them to Himself. He anchored Himself to them and they to Him. He gave them the zeal to spread the Gospel, the strength to stand firm in faith, and the courage to face martyrdom.

We stand on that same Rock. We dwell in the mighty fortress that is our God. He is our refuge and strength and in Him we have peace. We trust that no one and nothing can separate us from His love in Christ Jesus as we stand among the saints in time and those gathered into eternity.

By happy accident, today was also a day of adult confirmation. In the service, we offered the right hand of fellowship to two new communicant members. They confessed Jesus publically, joining with not only a collection of Lutherans in Lexington, Missouri but with all who know “the Christ, the Son of the living God” as Savior and Lord.

I chose for each of them Scripture passages that reflected their standing in the kingdom. One received Psalm 18:2 as his confirmation verse: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 went to the other: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

You Are the Christ Texts: [Jesus said,] “I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Built on the Rock.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Acts 15:1-12 (13-21); Galatians 2:1-10; Matthew 16:13-19

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22 June 2014

Sermon: Proper 7A (OT)

22 June AD 2014
Pentecost 2

Title: Deceived by the Lord (MP3 Audio)

Michaelangelo's Jeremiah Summary: Only someone with severe self-loathing would invite and welcome the hatred of others. Your garden variety pastor or prophet is no different. We would like to be liked. We want to be, if not friends, at least on good terms with all of our hearers.

Then the Lord gives us His holy, beautiful, sin-smiting, terrifying Law and says, “Preach it: No ifs, no ands, no buts.” We who rejoice in our salvation and who love His Word suddenly face rejection and even outright hatred among those to whom we are called to preach. Doesn’t God know that this is uncomfortable, even painful? What sort of bait-and-switch has He pulled?

Jeremiah doesn’t wait until penning Lamentations to lament his own circumstances. Hard-hearted Judah seems hell-bent on joining the northern tribes in judgment and doom. No one wants to take the blame for the problem — no one even will admit that there is a problem. Preaching the Word had become a massive headache and death threats were becoming common.

Yet at the end of his litany, Jeremiah changes direction so quickly that our heads spin. Wounds and woe give place to, “Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord!”

What changed? Certainly not God and His Law. No, Jeremiah realizes the same thing that other faithful servants of the Word recognize: We are still forgiven, redeemed children of God. Preaching the Law is a harsh and alien task — one that God Himself desires not to be.

Brutal and condemning as it is, the Law exists to prepare hearts for sweet salvation. And the pastor who knows his own sins much more clearly than he does the sins of his flock rushes to embrace Jesus’ forgiveness for himself and cannot wait to bring the same message to the Church. The Lord compels us to preach the Law only to allow us to preach the Gospel.

We may not make friends by honestly applying divine judgment. However, God has already befriended us by removing every spot and stain of sin. Our place with Him is secure and now we want our hearers to know and own this same hope of new, holy, and everlasting life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Rembrandt's Jeremiah Text: O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, “Violence and destruction!” For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.

For I hear many whispering. Terror is on every side! “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” say all my close friends, watching for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we can overcome him and take our revenge on him.”

But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.

Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers. Jeremiah 20:7-13

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Deceived by the Lord.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 91:1-10 (11-16); Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:5a, 21-33

Agnus Day
About the Cartoon: Jeremiah 20:7-13 cartoon by James Wetzstein at Agnus Day: The Lectionary Comic Strip.

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15 June 2014

Sermon: Trinity Sunday A (OT and Gospel)

The Feast of the Holy Trinity
15 June AD 2014

Title: Recreation (MP3 Audio)

Holy Trinity Summary: When we start feeling tired, out of sorts, and in need of a break, we often seek some form of recreation. We involve ourselves in pleasurable activities — or the lack of any activity whatsoever — in order to refresh, restore, and recharge ourselves.

Because we’re only treating symptoms, we miss the cure — although we label it correctly, we mispronounce it and look for it in the wrong places. We need what the word clearly says: re-creation. We need to be remade in God’s image, not to merely clean and polish our fallen sinful images.

In Baptism, God recreated each of us. As we return to our baptisms in repentant faith, God continually recreates us. This gift comes in His Church through Word and Sacrament. Those who seek Sunday morning recreation on a lake or a golf course or in their own beds turn their backs on the only thing that can make them new — not merely feel new but to truly be new in body, mind, and spirit.

As long as we live in this fallen Creation, sin and its effects will continue aging, wearing down, and killing us. Yet we are already citizens of the New Creation and look forward to our resurrection to everlasting life. For from the Last Day forward, we will be remade completely in Christ’s image and will never need to be recreated again.

This catholic* faith we regularly confess in the Church’s creeds, including today, when many congregations joined in speaking the Athanasian Creed.

Text: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Creation of Sun and Moon And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds — livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. Genesis 1:1-2:4

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Recreation.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 8; Acts 2:14a, 22-36

*The “catholic faith” spoken of in the creeds doesn’t mean “Roman Catholic.” Rather, it is the faith of the entire Christian Church as it is rightly believed, taught, and confessed around the world and throughout the ages.

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08 June 2014

Sermon: Pentecost A (Gospel)

The Feast of Pentecost
8 June AD 2014

Title: Come to Me and Drink (MP3 Audio)

John 7:37-38 Summary: We believers are often eager to serve our Lord — at times, too eager. For instance, when Jesus speaks of “rivers of living waters” flowing forth from us, we sometimes think and act as if we generate these floods ourselves.

However, nothing good flows from us unless it first flows into us. At the Festival of Booths, Jesus echoed what He told the Samaritan woman at the well (cf. John 4:13-14). He is the source of the water of life, the One who quenches our spiritual thirst forevermore.

Yet we mustn’t ignore the waters that Christ intends to flow from us by the Spirit’s power. As His vessels, we carry Jesus’ grace and mercy into our vocations. There, He desires that His love for us would become also His love from us — unrestrained, unending love for our neighbor. We demonstrate this love both by meeting others’ physical and emotional needs and particularly by confessing Christ our Savior as given opportunity by neighbor and impetus by the Spirit.

We pray that neither selfishness nor fear would lead us to dam the stream and cheat our thirsting neighbors in their need.

Text: On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:37-39

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Come to Me and Drink.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 25:1-15; Numbers 11:24-30; Acts 2:1-21

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01 June 2014

Sermon: Easter 7A (Gospel)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
1 June AD 2014

Title: That They May Be One (MP3 Audio)

Ephesians 1:22-23 Summary: True Christian unity is not merely external nor is it figurative. Jesus prayed for His disciples and, by extension, for those who would believe because of their apostolic teaching, that all believers might have the oneness that He has with His Father from all eternity. Among His other tasks, the Holy Spirit was sent to accomplish this.

As God declares us righteous by the forgiveness of sins, so he also calls us one. And what He establishes by declaration He also accomplishes in fact, placing us in an organic union with Him and with each other. We aren’t one through loss of individual personalities or identities. Just as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each distinct persons yet One God, so we who are many are one Church.

We are community. We live in communion. Yet we the one are many with diverse talents and gifts. As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, as God and man are one Christ, or as the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper are also Jesus’ body and blood, each remains distinct but cannot be what it is if divided from the others.

If we divide ourselves from any or all fellow believers, we divorce ourselves from the Church and from her Savior. Because we belong with and to God, we belong with and to one another. The sinful urge to elevate self or to marginalize or demean others despises this oneness. Unchecked and unforgiven, it risks loss of communion, of grace, of faith, of eternal life.

Conversely, when we confess our sins of selfishness and receive full forgiveness, the Spirit also leads us into the thoughts, words, and deeds of the one Church. We abandon false pride that refuses help from our brothers and sisters in our own times of need and actively seek to support and nurture others. The many parts of this one body care for and are cared for by the other members even as the whole and all its parts receive constant care from our Head, Jesus Christ our Lord.

High Priestly Prayer Text: When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” John 17:1-17

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of That They May Be One.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 68:1-10; Acts 1:12-26; 1 Peter 4:12-19, 5:6-11

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25 May 2014

Sermon: Easter 6A (Epistle)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
25 May AD 2014

Title: Safe in the Ark (MP3 Audio)

Noah's Ark Summary: In the time of Noah, there was only one place of safety. So it remains in ours. Noah’s Ark was a chapel in Christ’s Church and those aboard were rescued from the temporal and eternal death outside.

There is no salvation outside the Holy Christian Church. God brings us aboard through water and the Word, provisions us with His Son’s body and blood, and takes care of navigation, bringing us not to the Mountains of Ararat but to His holy mountain, Zion — the New Jerusalem, city of the saints and forever blest.

Included in today’s worship was the hymn By All Your Saints in Warfare, in which we sang this stanza about Noah.

Text: Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.

Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. 1 Peter 3:13-22

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Safe in the Ark.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 66:8-20; Acts 17:16-31; John 14:15-21

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22 May 2014

Hymn Stanza: Noah’s Ark


Noah's Ark The epistle for the Sixth Sunday of Easter in Series A of the Three Year Lectionary cycle is 1 Peter 3:13-22. Here the apostle connects Noah and the Ark to Christ’s death, descent into hell, and resurrection and to Holy Baptism. I wrote this stanza as part of the 2010 – 2011 hymn of the year for St. Paul Lutheran High School. It can be sung as the middle stanza of the hymn By All Your Saints in Warfare (tune: King’s Lynn) or to a number of other tunes in the 7676 D meter.

We will be singing this stanza this week as I preach this text. I offer it to anyone else who would like to use it in worship or private devotion, asking that those who use it corporately please notify me by comment here or in a private message on Facebook and with notice of copyright attached.

Although satanic darkness
And sin stained all mankind,
You yet kept Noah faithful
In heart and soul and mind.
He built an ark to carry
The remnant of our race.
For him, we praise Your promise
To save us by Your grace.

   — W. P. Snyder © 2007
   May not be used or reproduced without permission

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18 May 2014

Sermon: Easter 5A (Gospel)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
18 May AD 2014

Title: Trouble Free (MP3 Audio)

Let not your hearts be troubled Summary: A trouble free life? How about a trouble free hour or two? How about even fifteen minutes of peace and quiet, of calm and contentment? Tossed and turned as we are by sin, death, and devil, agitated by circumstances and irritated by others, Jesus’ words fall on eager ears but pass into skeptic minds and hearts.

If we aren’t facing the aches and pains of the body, we confront the disquiet of the mind — and worry that what minds we have will soon and steadily slip away. When the body is holding up and the mind still sharp and active, we still face emotional disquiet, either because of the way we are made or because of unsettling situations.

All troubles — physical, mental, and emotional — stem from one spiritual root: We are conceived and born as sinners and we spend too much of our lives in active sin or passive avoidance of doing what is right and good. All other troubles come because our lives are troubled by sin.

Yet Jesus not only commands us to abandon feeling troubled, He also did something about it. He took our troubles upon Himself. Truly, He bore all of our afflictions of body and mind, of heart and spirit in His own being. He knew pain that we might have pleasure. He knew disquiet that we might have relief. He knew cross and grave that we might know pardon and peace.

Therefore, even if troubles overtake us, we are not troubled. Our Savior has carried our loads and borne the weight of our sins. He who was lifted up on the tree comes to us in Word and Sacrament, lifting us up before His Father and promising eternal, blissful life to all who believe.

The Father's House Text: [Jesus said,] “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

“The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:1-14

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Trouble Free.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 146; Acts 6:1-9, 7:2a, 51-60; 1 Peter 2:2-10

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