Happenings

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





08 September 2019

Pentecost 13 Sermon: Righteous Planting

Preached on Psalm 1:1–6
13th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 18C
8 September AD 2019

Psalm 1 Summary: Believers flourish when rooted in Christ. As trees in a dry climate only grow strong when they can draw from a source of pure water, so our strength comes when we draw upon Jesus, our Living Water. We find ourselves here not because of our own actions but because the Holy Spirit takes us to the waters and plants us through Baptism and the Word.

Preached at Big Bend Retreat, a care center in Slater, Missouri.

Text: Blessed is the man
   who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
   nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
   and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
   planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
   and its leaf does not wither.
   In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
   but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
   nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked will perish. Psalm 1:1-6

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 Righteous Planting.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:15-25

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Pentecost 13 Sermon: Life and Good

Preached on Deuteronomy 30:15–20
13th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 18C
8 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Life and Good.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 Summary: Today Moses lays out a simple choice: Life and good or death and evil? And while “life” would seem to be the obvious and only answer, most of the world chooses death in one form or other. That’s because most choose themselves over God and neighbor.

Only Christians can choose true and eternal life because only they know that God first chose them. Left to our own devices, we will al eventually choose wrongly. But when guided by the Spirit, we choose life because we already possess that life in Christ.

Text: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

“But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.

“Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20

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 Life and Good.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 1; Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:15-25

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Pentecost 13 Sermon: Counting the Cost

Preached on Luke 14:15–25
13th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 18C
8 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Counting the Cost.

Luke 14:15-25 Summary: Of what value is faith in Christ? The world assigns no particular worth to redemption through Him while He tells us that life in Him is the only thing that matters. We take up our crosses to follow Him because He took up His cross and carried our sins to die with Him on Golgotha.

So while the cross of our discipleship has weight, it’s no burden because He bore the burden for us. Therefore, when we count the cost of following Jesus, we don’t think like the world, which asks, “What will this cost me?” Instead, we think like His beloved Church, which instead asks, “How much did this cost Him?”

Text: Now great crowds accompanied [Jesus], and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

“Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:15-25

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 Counting the Cost.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 1; Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Philemon 1-21

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01 September 2019

Pentecost 12 Sermon: Conflicting Glory

Preached on Proverbs 25:2–10
12th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 17C
1 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Conflicting Glory.

Cranach's Weimar altarpiece illustrating Proverbs 25:2 Summary: God does, at times, reveal His splendor to mortal eyes. However, He normally conceals His majesty from plain sight and human reason. Thus His greatest glory hides behind Golgatha’s gloom. The Father gloried in His Son’s sacrifice as Jesus glorified Him. Our Lord, masked mortal in flesh, died for our sins and the world watched unaware.

Likewise, God glories in hiding Himself in Baptism’s water, in Holy Communion’s bread and wine, and in the voices of His pastors as they teach and absolve His people. He also conceals Himself in His people as they live in faith, loving others as He loves them.

Text: It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.

Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.

Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end. Proverbs 25:2-10

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.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Conflicting Glory.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 131; Hebrews 13:1-17; Luke 14:1-14

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Pentecost 12 Sermon: Lawful Healing

Preached on Luke 14:1–14
12th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 17C
1 September AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Lawful Healing.

Luke 14:1-14 Summary: God gave mankind the Sabbath for our benefit. Even before the Fall, regular rest and refreshment was part of His plan for us. After that dark day and throughout all time thereafter, our need for Sabbath healing only intensified.

Finally, however, physical and mental rest is never enough. The things truly sapping our strength stem from sin — that which is part of us and that which fills Creation. Only forgiveness in Jesus Christ brings full healing and an everlasting “Sabbath rest for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)”

Text: One Sabbath, when [Jesus] went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”

But they remained silent.

Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.

“But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 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 Lawful Healing.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 131; Proverbs 25:2-10; Hebrews 13:1-17

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25 August 2019

Pentecost 11 Sermon: New Heavens, New Earth, New People

Preached on Isaiah 66:18–24
11th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 16C
25 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of New Heavens, New Earth, New People.

Isaiah 66:18–24 Summary: As his prophecies drew to a close, Isaiah spoke to God’s chosen people and proclaimed that the Lord’s grace extended beyond the borders of Judah. The Gentiles — even the nations that oppressed and carried Israel into captivity — would become His people.

In remaking Creation, as He creates the new heavens and the new earth, God will establish the new Jerusalem, the eternal city peopled by all believers. The multitude coming from east and west, from north and south, is the entirety of humankind who trust His promises of salvation in Christ Jesus.

No believer is exempt from this eternal reunion. There are no other qualifications for citizenship in the eternal kingdom. Paul reiterated this in his epistles. For example, he reminded the Colossians, “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. (3:11)”

Text: “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations.

“And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.

“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord.

“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” Isaiah 66:18-23

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 New Heavens, New Earth, New People.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 50:1-15; Hebrews 12:4-29; Luke 13:22-30

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Pentecost 11 Sermon: Inside, Outside

Preached on Luke 13:22–30
11th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 16C
25 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Inside, Outside.

Luke 13:22–30 Summary: Jesus reminds us that we enter Paradise only by gift. Being in church without being of the Church, saying prayers without praying, listening to the Gospel without believing in Christ as Savior — none of these will admit us to the eternal feast where we’ll “recline at table in the kingdom of God.” Only the Father’s grace and the power of His Holy Spirit bring us eternal life.

Text: [Jesus] went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”

And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’

“Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

“And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:22-30

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 Inside, Outside.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 50:1-15; Isaiah 66:18-23; Hebrews 12:4-29

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18 August 2019

Pentecost 10 Sermon: A Cloud of Witnesses

Preached on Hebrews 11:17–12:3
10th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 15C
18 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of A Cloud of Witnesses.

Hebrews 11:17-12:3 Summary: It can be easy to forget that we Christians aren’t alone in this life or to think that our troubles are more insurmountable than are anyone else’s. Therefore, God provides a “cloud of witnesses” — the testimony of the saints who went before us.

Through their testimony, we see that they overcame trials and testings and were judged righteous and worthy of the eternal kingdom through faith. The Old Testament believers knew that their Savior would come and believed and lived accordingly.

The lives of the saints also encourage us not to despair when faith flags or we feel trapped by our sinfulness. For even as the great victories of the faithful are celebrated in Hebrews 11, the Scriptures also tell of their weaknesses, frailties, and faults. The epic saints were often also epic sinners but God loved them in spite of their sin, because of His love.

Finally, as we fix our eyes on Jesus, we see the One who endured the hostility of Satan and sinners in order to bring us everlasting joy and peace. He considered us to be worth the suffering and sorrow so that we might know the pleasures of eternal life in Him.

Text: By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection.

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated — of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 11:17-12:3

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 A Cloud of Witnesses.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 119:81-88; Jeremiah 23:16-29; Luke 12:49-56

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Pentecost 10 Sermon: Divine Division

Preached on Luke 12:49–56
10th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 15C
18 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Divine Division.

Luke 12:49-56 Summary: Jesus’ Gospel is not a message of “go along to get along.” Rather, the two edged sword of the Word (see Hebrews 4:12 ) divides the faithful from the faithless. The hatred it engenders comes only from the ranks of the unbelievers, for those who live in His love remain committed to loving others.

Text: [Jesus said,] “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens.

“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” Luke 12:49-56

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 Divine Division.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 119:81-88; Jeremiah 23:16-29; Hebrews 11:17-12:3

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11 August 2019

Pentecost 9 Sermon: By Faith

Preached on Hebrews 11:1–16
9th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 14C
11 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of By Faith.

Hebrews 11 Summary: Pop star George Michael sang — over and over and over — “I gotta have faith” in the 1987 song “Faith” from the album Faith. Yet for all the “faith” he mentioned, nothing in Michael’s song resembles the faith commended by Scripture and counted by the Lord as righteousness.

Faith counted as righteousness is faith in the Savior. It’s so much more than merely professing, “I’m a believer” or trusting that “the sun will come out tomorrow.” Abel, Enoch, Noah, and Abraham looked forward to the promised Redeemer.

Likewise, we look to Him who fulfilled God’s promises to the saints of old. This isn’t merely looking back to Bethlehem and Calvary but seeing Jesus now as He comes in Word and Sacrament. We know the historical truth concerning the One “born of the Virgin Mary” who “suffered under Pontius Pilate” and our God-given faith believes that His sacrifice paid for all our sins and brought us peace with God, who counts our faith in Jesus’ suffering and death as our righteousness.

With the OT believers, we also look forward, awaiting the fulfillment of one last promise. The faithful throughout time anticipate the Day when He calls all believers to enter Paradise. Our faith will be completed at the sight of Jesus welcoming us into everlasting life.

Text: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:1-16

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 By Faith.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 33:12-22; Genesis 15:1-6; Luke 12:22-34

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Pentecost 9 Sermon: Fear Not, Little Flock

Preached on Luke 12:22–34
9th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 14C
11 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Fear Not, Little Flock.

Luke 12:22–34 Summary: Jesus’ flock of disciples, little in number, social prestige, and power could certainly find reason for feeling anxious. Merely living an everyday life in First Century Judea was difficult for most.

Then their Master sent them out with minimal provisions. His teaching and popularity among the disenfranchised subjected Him to the displeasure of powerful Jewish factions. Following Him made them similar targets for the animosity of many of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

Like us, they also probably had similar worries about health and sickness, family and friends, life and death. And as our fellow believers, we can imagine that they at times also worried about their standing before God, knowing that they were sinners by birth and prone to falling back into sinful thought, word, and deed.

For them — and for us — Jesus addressed anxiety head-on. In showing God’s watchful providence over even the smallest, frailest parts of Creation, the Lord teaches His people how important they are to His Father. Calling us a “little flock” identifies us as sheep under our Shepherd’s gentle care.

Therefore, we need not worry about the devil’s hatred or the world’s scorn. Even God’s holy wrath at sin cannot threaten the calm peace we enjoy as His dear children.

Text: And [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!

“And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:22-34

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 Fear Not, Little Flock.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 33:12-22; Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16

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04 August 2019

Pentecost 8 Sermon: Wisdom, Madness, and Folly

Preached on Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12–14, 17, 2:18–26
8th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 13C
4 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Wisdom, Madness, and Folly.

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 17, 2:18-26 Summary: You can go nuts trying to figure out life. Muster all your wisdom or surrender to free-ranging folly and you’ll finally end up at the same place: Life is ultimately a madhouse unless you live under the Lord’s grace. All paths — save one — lead to death. You may have a good time getting there or it may be a horrible journey but the end will be the same.

If the Lord isn’t your Shepherd leading you through the valley of the shadow of death then Death will be your shepherd leading you into eternal destruction (see Psalm 49:14 ). All is emptiness, despair, madness, and folly unless we follow where our Savior leads.

Along the way, He meets our earthly needs of body and mind as well as our eternal needs of spirit. We can “eat and drink and find enjoyment in [our] toil” because we are redeemed by the One who toiled for us, sacrificing everything, including His life, that we might be free of sin’s curse forevermore.

Note on Continuity: Near the beginning of the sermon, I mentioned unplanned changes to the day’s worship. First, we couldn’t get the sound system to work so we could play hymns since our organist was gone. Then the bell didn’t want to ring. I thought that they helped illustrate part of the text.

We only thought that the illustrating was over, however. You’ll notice about two thirds of the way through the recording that there’s a change in flow and my comment about another unplanned situation. That’s because of an issue during the sermon and the subsequent wait for an ambulance. Thank God that the situation found a happy resolution!

While it interrupted continuity, the incident certainly illustrated how transitory our days can be and how our plans aren’t always God’s.

Text: Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.... And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 17, 2:18-26

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 Wisdom, Madness, and Folly.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 100; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13–21

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Pentecost 8 Sermon: Barn Raising

Preached on Luke 12:13–21
8th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 13C
4 August AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Barn Raising.

Luke 12:13-21 Summary: Why don’t you build a bigger barn? Expand your portfolio? Add a second home to your holdings? Or a third? Why not, indeed? It makes all kinds of sense in the way the world thinks.

But it doesn’t make God’s kind of sense. Jesus cautions that the only treasure truly worth hoarding is our salvation. When God requires our souls of us, faith in Christ is the only thing that will tip the balance sheets in our favor.

Our worry shouldn’t be gathering earthly treasures into the barns of this life — not when we are the treasure that God desires to keep forevermore. When He invests in us, He pours so much wealth into us that we can either grasp it and let it corrupt us or we can let it flow through into love for others. Thus, we are “rich toward God” when we are rich toward those in need who surround us through our days on earth.

Text: Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’

“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

“So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13–21

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 Barn Raising.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 100; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-26; Colossians 3:1-11

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28 July 2019

Pentecost 7 Sermon: Don’t Be Angry, Lord

Preached on Genesis 18:20–33
7th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 12C
28 July AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Don’t Be Angry, Lord.

Genesis 18:20-33 Summary: Desperate to save his nephew’s livelihood and, quite possibly, his life, Abraham attempted to bargain with the Lord. Hoping to gain a reprieve for Lot. Worried that God might reject him — or worse — Abraham asked the Lord to stay His anger as he continued his petitioning.

His fears were groundless because the Lord welcomes our heartfelt requests and will never lash out against His children. God judged Abraham righteous because of the patriarch’s faith in Him, not because he was sinless and holy in and of himself.

And even though we are sinners, God’s wrath against sin was spent upon His Son Jesus. We who trust in Christ have no reason to dread our Father lashing out against us when we pray to Him since He will do nothing but love us just as He loves Jesus.

Text: The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LordLord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?”

And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.”

He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”

Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.”

He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.”

He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”

Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.”

He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place. Genesis 18:20-33

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.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Don’t Be Angry, Lord.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 138; Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19); Luke 11:1-13

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Pentecost 7 Sermon: Teach Us to Pray

Preached on Luke 11:1–13
7th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 12C
28 July AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Teach Us to Pray.

Luke 11:1-13 Summary: With Jesus’ disciples, we also ask, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

And to us, as He does to them, our Lord replies: “Pray confidently and persistently and your Father will answer according to your needs.” This doesn’t mean that we get all that we ask for. Indeed, there are many times that we ask for that which is foolish, even harmful.

Rather, He gives us everything necessary for our true and lasting benefit. Of course, our loving Father often adds in much more than the bare minimum and usually ends up surprising us by including things we never think of.

Text: Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:1-13

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 Teach Us to Pray.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 138; Genesis 18:(17-19) 20-33; Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)

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21 July 2019

Pentecost 6 Sermon: No Laughing Matter

Preached on Genesis 18:1-15
6th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 11C
21 July AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of No Laughing Matter.

Genesis 18:1-15 Summary: “The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah,” so when the Lord promised a son to her and Abraham, she laughed. God got the last laugh, though. Sarah did conceive, and she bore a child whom the joyous parents named “Isaac” — “he laughs.”

Rather than laughing at the Lord’s promises, He invites us to laugh with Him in the face of death and destruction, in spite of sorrow and suffering, of sin, death, and devil. He invites us to know the joy of forgiveness, life, and salvation that is ours through the merits of Jesus Christ. For while faith is no laughing matter, faithful Christians cannot but join their God in His holy humor as He keeps His promises and preserves and protects His people.

Text: And the Lord appeared to [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on — since you have come to your servant.”

So they said, “Do as you have said.”

And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?”

And he said, “She is in the tent.”

The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.”

And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”

The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid.

He said, “No, but you did laugh.” Genesis 18:1-15

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.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of No Laughing Matter.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 27:(1-6) 7-14; Colossians 1:21-29; Luke 10:38-42

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Pentecost 6 Sermon: Anxiety Free

Preached on Luke 10:38-42
6th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 11C
21 July AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Anxiety Free.

Luke 10:38-42 Summary: Most of us have one or more pet concerns that occupy too much of our time and energy. And while God doesn’t want us to be apathetic, He calls us away from the anxiety into which we too easily slip.

So it was with Martha. So eager that everything be “just so” for Jesus, she failed to see that what He was offering her household far exceeded anything that shes — and her sister — could do for Him. We’ll always have cares but our concern amounts to nothing if we don’t first receive the fulness of Christ’s concern for us. Only when we fully and freely rely on His TLC are we truly able to bless others with our own loving care.

Text: Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

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.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Anxiety Free.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 27:(1-6) 7-14; Genesis 18:1-10a (10b-14); Colossians 1:21-29

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20 July 2019

Pentecost 6 Sermon: Wait for the Lord

Preached on Psalm 27
6th Sunday After Pentecost — Proper 11C
20 July AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:14 Summary: Patience is a virtue. However, as I sometimes joke, when you ask God for patience, He doesn’t give it, He teaches it. Yet it’s patience that allows us to accept what happens to us in life while trusting that our times and our seasons are in the Lord’s hands. And what God teaches is that when we patiently wait for Him, all our anxieties and troubles belong to Him and He will deal with them for us.

Since we can’t fix anything important in our own lives, particularly not our relationship with God and our way through life’s difficulties, we need to patiently wait for His deliverance. He will lead us out of trouble and into His everlasting presence.

Text:

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?

When evildoers assail me
   to eat up my flesh,

my adversaries and foes,
   it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
   my heart shall not fear;

though war arise against me,
   yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
   that will I seek after:

   that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
   all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
   and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
   in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
   he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
   above my enemies all around me,

and I will offer in his tent
   sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
   be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, “Seek my face.”
    My heart says to you,
   “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.
   Turn not your servant away in anger,

O you who have been my help.
   Cast me not off; forsake me not,
   O God of my salvation!

For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
   but the Lord will take me in.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
   and lead me on a level path
   because of my enemies.

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
   for false witnesses have risen against me,
   and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
   in the land of the living!

Wait for the Lord;
   be strong, and let your heart take courage;
   wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:7-14

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 Wait for the Lord.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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: Genesis 18:1-10a (10b-1); Colossians 1:21-29; Luke 10:38-42

25 April 2018

Funeral Sermon: Fearless Life, Fearless Death

Preached on Psalm 27
The Funeral of Darold Willard Deterding
25 April AD 2018

Title: Fearless Life, Fearless Death (MP3 Audio)

Psalm 27::1 Summary: Out of the blue, I heard that a dear friend’s father had died. Then I learned that the family wanted me to bury him and preach his funeral sermon. I’d known Darold since I went home with his son Curtis in the mid-70s, during my freshman year in college. Our families had found ways of intertwining ever since.

When possible, I try to preach a funeral sermon using the departed saint’s confirmation verse. In 1949, his pastor had done me a big favor by giving Darold Psalm 27:1 as his special Scripture. It spoke well to his life and ministry. To his triumphs and sorrows. To his gains and losses. The entire Psalm proclaims a gracious God setting Himself against foes of body, mind, and spirit and keeping Darold safe into life everlasting.

It also addresses a grieving family and friends, proclaiming peace and strengthening faith in the same loving God. For Darold had no monopoly on the Psalmist’s words. All of Christ’s family own the same strength and salvation. Even death holds no fear for those who remember that they have already died —their sinful natures put to death in Baptism as their new selves are given life.

Darold now sleeps in Jesus. And on the Last Day, he will join all the saints to forever “look upon the Lord in the land of the living.” Now it’s our turn to carry on in faith, to continue waiting “for the Lord,” to “be strong, and let [our hearts] take courage.”

Text: 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?

When evildoers assail me
   to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
   it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
   my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
   yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
   that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
   all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
   and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
   in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
   he will lift me high upon a rock.


And now my head shall be lifted up
   above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
   sacrifices with shouts of joy;
   I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
   be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
   My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
   Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
   O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
   O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
   but the Lord will take me in.

Teach me your way, O Lord,
   and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
   for false witnesses have risen against me,
   and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
   in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
   be strong, and let your heart take courage;
   wait for the Lord! Psalm 27

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 Fearless Life, Fearless Death

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 23; Isaiah 40:28-31; Colossians 2:6-15; John 10:1-5, 11-18