Happenings

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





05 July 2020

Proper 9A Sermon: Because of the Blood

Preached on Zechariah 9:9–12
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
5 July AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Because of the Blood.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Because of the Blood to hear the MP3.

Zechariah 9:9–12 Summary: When God cut His covenant with Abraham, He alone passed among the sacrificed animals. In so doing, the Lord pledged Himself not only to keeping His side of the promises but ultimately also to upholding the obligations of Abraham and his heirs. We hear this through Zechariah, when the Lord speaks not of “our covenant” but “My covenant.”

The blood of the covenant with Abraham points to the blood of the covenant He would make to all people through Christ. He also made a covenant in which He pledged Himself to faithfully uphold the obligations of both parties.

In His life, suffering, and death, Jesus poured out the blood of the New Covenant. Fully divine, He established and keeps God’s promise of salvation to mankind. Fully human, He faithfully kept mankind’s obligations unto His death and continues in His resurrection to uphold humanity’s responsibilities.

Because His Son kept God’s Law on our behalf, the Father accepted the sacrifice of the blood of the covenant that Christ shed on Golgotha. God then honors His covenant obligations and credits Jesus’ faithfulness to all of us who believe in Him.

Text: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. Zechariah 9:9–12

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Because of the Blood.

Audio: Click Because of the Blood to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 145:1–14; Romans 7:14–25a; Matthew 11:25–30

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Proper 9A Sermon: Revealed to Children

Preached on Matthew 11:25–30
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
5 July AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Revealed to Children.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Revealed to Children to hear the MP3.

Matthew 11:25–30 Summary: Simple, ordinary, basic: These aren’t the gaudy descriptions for ourselves that our sinful flesh craves. Christians rejoice that salvation is fully revealed and freely given to us “little children.”

There’s nothing we can add to the certainty of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Jesus. Those who are wise unto salvation rather than wise in the ways of the world occupy themselves not with plans and theories of salvation but rather how we can live out our lives in faith toward God and in fervent love for all people.

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Revealed to Children.

Audio: Click Revealed to Children to listen to the MP3.

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

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28 June 2020

Proper 8A Sermon: Amen! But...

Preached on Jeremiah 28:5–9
The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
28 June AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Amen! But....

Audio: Alternatively, choose Amen! But... to hear the MP3.

Jeremiah 28 Summary: Jeremiah’s “Amen!” to Hananiah wasn’t because he agreed with the false prophet’s prediction but rather because he also earnestly desired peace. Peace between Judah and Babylon, of course, but more importantly, between God and Judah.

After apparently giving his seal of approval to Hananiah’s words, Jeremiah turned around and reminded his opponent how their prophetic predecessors “prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms.” The prophet reminds us that peace is a rare and precious gift and the one who accurately proclaims it is worthy of honor.

True peace comes only when sins are forgiven and we are right with God. Even when Satan and this sinful world resist the Church and “war, famine, and pestilence” are commonplace, Christians live in peace with God through the gift of the True and Greatest Prophet, Jesus Christ. This peace dwelling in us is God’s pledge of absolute and everlasting accord with Him and with all who believe in His Son when we are raise up to life without end.

Note that a few of of my comments during the sermon are directly addressed to the young people who would be confirmed later in the service.

Text: Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hananiah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord, and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles.

“Yet hear now this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.” Jeremiah 28:5–9

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Amen! But....

Audio: Click Amen! But... to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 119:153–160; Romans 7:1–13; Matthew 10:34–42

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Proper 8A Sermon: Not Worthy ... Worthy

Preached on Matthew 10:34–42
The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
28 June AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Not Worthy ... Worthy.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Not Worthy ... Worthy to hear the MP3.

Matthew 10:34–42 Summary: No matter how worthy we or others think we are, by nature we have no true worth in God’s eyes. Our value comes not from building ourselves up but rather by admitting that we are nothing and can do nothing without Christ.

When we believe in salvation through Jesus and begin to know His love for us, His Spirit works love for Christ in our hearts. And as we grow in love toward Christ, the Spirit also moves us to truly love others. Our Savior counts us worthy not because of who we are but whose we are — for we are His.

Text: So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:34–42

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Not Worthy ... Worthy.

Audio: Click Not Worthy ... Worthy to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 119:153–160; Jeremiah 28:5–9; Romans 7:1–13

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21 June 2020

Proper 7A Sermon: Deceived

Preached on Jeremiah 20:7–13
The Third Sunday after Pentecost
21 June AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Deceived.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Deceived to hear the MP3.

Jeremiah 20:7–13 Summary: Jeremiah complained that being the Lord’s prophet wasn’t the easy job he might have expected and decried the nation’s resistance, even among his supposed friends. Yet he remained faithful and confessed faith that, no matter the odds, the Lord fought for him and his cause would finally prevail.

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Deceived.

Audio: Click Deceived to listen to the MP3.

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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Proper 7A Sermon: Hated

Preached on Matthew 10:5a, 21–33
The Third Sunday after Pentecost
21 June AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Hated.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Hated to hear the MP3.

Matthew 10:5a, 21–33 Summary: The Church shouldn't be surprised when the world dismisses, demeans, or threatens to destroy it. We know this hatred will come to naught because we belong to Christ and world, death, and devil have no power over us.

Text: These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them ... “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:5a, 21–33

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Hated.

Audio: Click Hated to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 91:1–10 (11–16); Jeremiah 20:7–13; Romans 6:12–23

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14 June 2020

Proper 6A Sermon: On Eagles’ Wings

Preached on Exodus 19:2–8
The Second Sunday after Pentecost
14 June AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of On Eagles’ Wings.

Audio: Alternatively, choose On Eagles’ Wings to hear the MP3.

Exodus 19:4 Summary: As the Lord bore Israel from Egyptian bondage to the Promised Land “on eagles’ wings,” so He carries us from sin and death into everlasting life through His Son.

Text: They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God.

The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord. Exodus 19:2–8

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of On Eagles’ Wings.

Audio: Click On Eagles’ Wings to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 100; Romans 5:6–15; Matthew 9:35–10:8

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Proper 6A Sermon: Perfect Timing

Preached on Romans 5:6–15
The Second Sunday after Pentecost
14 June AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Perfect Timing.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Perfect Timing to hear the MP3.

Romans 5:6–15 Summary: Adam brought sin and death into the world through his fall but at the absolutely correct time Jesus reconciled us to God through His suffering and death and gave us life by His resurrection.

Text: For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. Romans 5:6–15

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Perfect Timing.

Audio: Click Perfect Timing to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 100; Exodus 19:2–8; Matthew 9:35–10:8

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07 June 2020

Trinity Sunday Sermon: Recreation

Preached on Genesis 1:1–2:4a
The Feast of the Holy Trinity
7 June AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Recreation.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Recreation to hear the MP3.

Genesis 1:1–2:4a Summary: In normal recreation, we’re only treating symptoms while missing the cause and the cure. 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.

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.

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. Genesis 1:1–2:4a

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Recreation.

Audio: Click Recreation to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 8; Acts 2:14a, 22–36; Matthew 28:16–28

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Trinity Sunday Sermon: To the End

Preached on Matthew 28:16–28
The Feast of the Holy Trinity
7 June AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of To the End.

Audio: Alternatively, choose To the End to hear the MP3.

Matthew 28:16–28 Summary: Just as with His apostles, so Jesus continues to remain with all believers "to the end of the age." By the power of the Holy Spirit, He comes through Word and Sacrament. He protects and provisions us, leading us through earthly life into life everlasting.

Text: In normal recreation, we’re only treating symptoms while missing the cure. 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.

Text: 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 28:16–28

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of To the End.

Audio: Click To the End to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 8; Genesis 1:1–2:4a; Acts 2:14a, 22–36

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31 May 2020

Pentecost A Sermon: Eldad, Medad, and You

Preached on Numbers 11:24–30
The Feast of Pentecost
31 May AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Eldad, Medad, and You.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Eldad, Medad, and You, to hear the MP3.

Numbers 11:24–30 Summary: When Moses led Israel’s elders out to the Tabernacle, two of them chose, for whatever reason, to remain in the camp. When the Lord set His Spirit on the men around the tent, He also reached into the encampment for these two, choosing them also to prophecy in His name.

God reaches out to us as He did Eldad and Medad, ignoring boundaries and borders. He sets the Holy Spirit on us, creating and strengthening faith and leading us to believe, live, and love as His people in word and deed.

Text: So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent.

Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it.

Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.

And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.”

But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”

And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp. Numbers 11:24–30

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Eldad, Medad, and You.

Audio: Click Eldad, Medad, and You to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 25:1–15; Acts 2:1–21; John 7:37–39

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Pentecost A Sermon: Drink Up

Preached on John 7:37–39
The Feast of Pentecost
31 May AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Drink Up.

John 7:37–39 Summary: To those burdened by living in a sin-parched world, Jesus sends refreshing streams of living water. Through the Holy Spirit, He pours His life-giving Gospel into all who believe, filling them to overflowing. They, in turn, bring this refreshment to all they encounter.

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Drink Up.

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

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17 May 2020

Easter 6A Sermon: Baptism Now Saves You

Preached on 1 Peter 3:13–22
The Sixth Sunday of Easter
17 May AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Baptism Now Saves You.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Baptism Now Saves You, to hear the MP3.

Genesis 6–8 Summary: Peter draws us to examine the destructive power and life-giving nature of water. In the Flood, the wicked perished but the righteous were raised to safety. In Baptism, the sinful nature is drowned and the new creature raised up.

As we are baptized, we participate in Jesus’ death, which destroys sin and death. Baptism then also joins us to His resurrection, raising us to lives of faith on earth and opening the way to eternal life we are resurrected.

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.

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Baptism Now Saves You.

Audio: Click Baptism Now Saves You to listen to the MP3.

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

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Easter 6A Sermon: Very Religious

Preached on Acts 17:16–31
The Sixth Sunday of Easter
17 May AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Very Religious.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Very Religious, to hear the MP3.

Acts 17:16–31 Summary: Many people are “very religious,” as Paul says of the Athenians. But only the true religion — faith in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ — brings peace with God and life everlasting.

Text: Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.

Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities” — because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’

“What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.

“Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’

“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:16–31

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Very Religious.

Audio: Click Very Religious to listen to the MP3.

Other Readings: Psalm 66:8–20; 1 Peter 3:13–22; John 14:15–21

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02 May 2020

Easter 4A Sermon: They Devoted Themselves

Preached on Acts 2:42–47
The Fourth Sunday of Easter — The Good Shepherd
A Spoken Order of Morning Prayer (LSB 235)
3 May AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of They Devoted Themselves. Morning Prayer from the Lutheran Service Book begins with the Verse (235), the Psalmody (LSB 235–237) with the Venite and Psalm 23, and the Readings with Responses (LSB 238). The sermon starts at the 8:40 mark. The service concludes with the Benedictus (LSB 238–240), Collect of the Day, Prayer of the Church, Collect for Grace (LSB 241), Lord’s Prayer, Benedicamus (LSB 241), and Benediction (LSB 242).

Audio: Alternatively, choose They Devoted Themselves, MP3 audio of the sermon only.

Acts 2:42 Summary: The Jerusalem Church kept sharp focus on what was truly needful. They were devoted to receiving correction and forgiveness through the Apostles’ teaching and preaching. They devoted themselves to each other so none would be in need.

The Emmaus Road disciples knew Jesus through the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:13–35). Here, a few weeks later, these Christians knew that the Lord graciously revealed Himself in His Supper to them also as they devoted themselves to “the breaking of the bread.” And they joined in corporate prayer and worship, devoting themselves to asking, thanking, and praising God in Jesus’ name.

Just as in the First Century, Twenty-first Century Christians learn and practice devotion to the things of God as they mirror Jesus’ devotion to His Father’s will and our salvation.

Text: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.

And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people.

And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42–47

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of They Devoted Themselves. Sermon begins at the 8:40 mark.

Audio: Click They Devoted Themselves for MP3 audio of just the sermon.

Other Readings: Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19–25; John 10:1–10

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Easter 4A Sermon: Open Door Policy

Preached on John 10:1–10
The Fourth Sunday of Easter — The Good Shepherd
A Spoken Order of Morning Prayer (LSB 235)
3 May AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Open Door Policy. Morning Prayer from the Lutheran Service Book begins with the Verse (235), the Psalmody (LSB 235–237) with the Venite and Psalm 148, and the Readings with Responses (LSB 238). The sermon starts at the 6:45 mark. The service concludes with the Benedictus (LSB 238–240), Collect of the Day, Prayer of the Church, Collect for Grace (LSB 241), Lord’s Prayer, Benedicamus (LSB 241), and Benediction (LSB 242).

John 10:1–10 Summary: When we come to our heavenly Father through Jesus, we will never find the door shut in our faces. Jesus opened our access that we might approach God in faith while we live on earth. He is also the door through which we’ll travel when we enter eternal life.

Text: [Jesus said,] “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens.

“The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:1–10

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Open Door Policy. Sermon begins at the 6:45 mark.

Other Readings: Psalm 23; Acts 2:42–47; 1 Peter 2:19–25

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26 April 2020

Easter 3A Sermon: The Lord Preserves the Simple

Preached on Psalm 116:1–14
The Third Sunday of Easter (Series A)
Responsive Prayer 2 Suffrages (LSB 282)
26 April AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of The Lord Preserves the Simple. Responsive Prayer 1 Suffrages from the Lutheran Service Book begins with the Opening Verse (LSB 282), Lord’s Prayer (LSB 282), Apostles’ Creed (LSB 282), Psalm 116:1–14, Psalm 133, and the Readings. The sermon starts at the 9:00 mark. The service concludes with the Morning Sentences (LSB 283), Collect of the Day, Collect During an Epidemic, Morning Prayer(LSB 283), Benedicamus (LSB 284), and Benediction (LSB 284).

Psalm 116:1–14 Summary: Human pride leads us to say things like, “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” Basically, this means that if we want His aid, we need to begin a godly task with noble desire and firm resolve.

Of course, unless He is already helping us, we don’t have a natural desire to be about godly tasks. And even if our hearts are in the right place, we’re often too weak to even begin a task that needs God’s aid.

The psalmist tells us, “The Lord preserves the simple.” He helps those who can’t help themselves. God doesn’t want us to be simple-minded but He does ask us to focus on one simple truth: Jesus died to save us. He died to save us from ourselves, from Satan, and from eternal death and endless suffering.

Text: I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

I believed, even when I spoke: “I am greatly afflicted”; I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.”

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Psalm 116:1–14

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of The Lord Preserves the Simple. Sermon begins at the 9:00 mark.

Other Readings: Psalm 133; 1 Peter 1:17–25; Acts 2:14a, 36–41; Luke 24:13–35

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Easter 3A Sermon: Necessary Evil

Preached on Luke 24:13–35
The Third Sunday of Easter (Series A)
Responsive Prayer 2 (LSB 285)
26 April AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Necessary Evil. Responsive Prayer 2 from the Lutheran Service Book begins with the Opening Versicles (LSB 285), Psalm 116:1–14, and the Readings. The sermon starts at the 7:45 mark. The service concludes with the Kyrie (LSB 285), Lord’s Prayer (LSB 285), Apostles’ Creed (LSB 286), Versicles (286), Collect of the Day, Collect During an Epidemic, Morning Prayer (LSB 287), Benedicamus (LSB 287), and Benediction (LSB 287).

Audio: Alternatively, choose Necessary Evil, MP3 audio of the sermon only.

Luke 24:13–35 Summary: When we talk about “necessary evils,” we normally mean something harsh or painful that we must endure in order to reach a satisfactory and pleasing conclusion. At times, we even use “necessary evil” as another way of saying, “The ends justify the means” — in other words, an excuse to take short-cuts or to sin in some way in order to achieve our goal.

Jesus enlightened the disciples on the Emmaus Road by showing them from the Scriptures that He endured the necessary evil of suffering before achieving His goal and entering glory. Because He endured the necessary, prophesied evils of betrayal, abandonment, torture, and death, the Lord destroyed the power of sin and death and won for us everlasting life.

Text: That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”

And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

And he said to them, “What things?”

And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.

“Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. Luke 24:13–35

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Necessary Evil. Sermon begins at the 7:45 mark.

Audio: Click Necessary Evil for MP3 audio of just the sermon.

Other Readings: Psalm 116:1–14; Acts 2:14a, 36–41; 1 Peter 1:17–25

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19 April 2020

Easter 2A Sermon: Breathless

Preached on John 20:19–31
The Second Sunday of Easter (Series A)
19 April AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Breathless. Includes reading of the Gospel, Collect for the Word, Luther’s Evening Prayer, and Benediction.

Audio: Alternatively, choose Breathless, MP3 audio of the sermon.

John 20:19–31 Summary: We shouldn’t be surprised that Jesus breathes on His disciples as He bestows the Holy Spirit. In Scripture, both the Hebrew ruach and the Greek pneuma are commonly used for breath, wind, and spirit. Therefore, His breathing out is a physical sign of the divine gift He gives. Later, on Pentecost, the sound of a “mighty rushing wind (Acts 2:2)” announces the coming of the Holy Spirit even before the tongues of fire appear.

So what happens when that breath is withheld? In common usage, you might be breathless if you exercise vigorously and are aching for oxygen. People with asthma often find themselves breathless, as do those with lung or circulatory troubles. We even talk about “breathless anticipation,” as if we’re afraid that drawing a breath might scare off good news.

What else can be breathless? Among other things, a rock, a statue, or a corpse. None of these can breathe on its own. Just as the first man needed God’s breath in order to have life, so we need His breath in order to move from spiritual death into new life in Him.

With this in mind, we see how Jesus’ breathing the Spirit into the disciples echoes the Creation, when “the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7)” Jesus signals the dawning of the New Creation by building on what was done in the beginning. Just as He brings life to Adam, so He brings new life to all who believe on His name.

The Holy Spirit now breathes into every believer. He is our breath of life and a cleansing wind that blows through us, carrying off sin and decay. He inspires us to listen to God’s Word and to follow His ways — and we note that the Latin spiritus, from which we take our word “spirit” also means breath, as in “respiration.” So when the Spirit “inspires” us, He breathes into us, not air to support physical life, but Himself, in order to support spiritual life and to preserve us unto eternal life.

Text: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:19–31

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of Breathless. Includes reading of the Gospel, Collect for the Word, Luther’s Evening Prayer, and Benediction.

Audio: Click Breathless for MP3 audio of the sermon.

Other Readings: Psalm 148; Acts 5:29–42; 1 Peter 1:3–9

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Easter 2A Sermon: God Rather Than Man

Preached on Acts 5:29–42
The Second Sunday of Easter (Series A)
A Spoken Order of Morning Prayer (LSB 235)
19 April AD 2020

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of God Rather Than Man. Morning Prayer from the Lutheran Service Book begins with the Verse (235), the Psalmody (LSB 235–237) with the Venite and Psalm 148, and the Readings with Responses (LSB 238). The sermon starts at the 9:40 mark. The service concludes with the Benedictus (LSB 238–240), Collect of the Day, Prayer of the Church, Collect for Grace (LSB 241), Lord’s Prayer, Benedicamus (LSB 241), and Benediction (LSB 242).

Audio: Alternatively, choose God Rather Than Man, MP3 audio of the sermon only.

Acts 5:29–42 Summary: We don’t always grasp exactly what the Scriptures are saying without careful thought. For example, obeying God rather than man doesn’t mean that Christians always try to get their way, even if their government isn’t the friendliest to them. However, if we are commanded to sin against God or other people, God then commands us to take a stand.

Similarly, not every Bible passage describes thoughts and behavior that Christians should embrace. In today’s text, Gamaliel says that if the disciples undertaking is of man, it will fail while if it’s of God, there will be no stopping it. Obviously this isn’t always true, since many false teachers rose up in the past and still have followers in the thousands, even the millions. And while God’s ultimate plan will never fail, not everything He initiates continues successfully in holiness. Many things that He wants to happen and that He sets in motion are sidetracked, stalled, or stopped by sinful humanity.

Yet when we follow God in faith, accepting His Law’s rebuke and the full and free forgiveness of His Gospel, the Lord prospers that which is truly vital. He continues to guard our way and lead us from this life to life everlasting.

Text: Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while.

And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered.

“So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”

So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.

And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. Acts 5:29–42

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.

Video: Click to view the YouTube video of God Rather Than Man. Sermon begins at the 9:40 mark.

Audio: Click God Rather Than Man for MP3 audio of just the sermon.

Other Readings: Psalm 148; 1 Peter 1:3–9; John 20:19–31

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