Sermons

Parole or Not?

With the whole creation we groan together in birthing pains, waiting for the redemption of all things. Things are not how they were intended to be. We are not home yet. This sad state of affairs is the result of people who are not God playing God. The devil is in on this, sowing weeds throughout the field of this world. But there is no God besides God the Holy Trinity, not in heaven above nor on earth below—not you, not me, not anyone. The real God has appointed that we and all humanity are saved in hope through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our true home is the kingdom of God introduced by Jesus. Along our journey home, even when we do not know what to pray, our hope is sustained by the intercessions of God the Holy Spirit, whose groanings on our behalf are deeper than words can tell.

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Johnny Appleseed Song

God’s vivifying Word cleaves the darkness of humanity’s sin and death, accomplishing the rescue mission on which He speaks it forth. Turned in upon ourselves, the ground of our hearts at different times in our lives is hard-packed, rock-infested, and thorn-choked until God’s merciful speaking creates fertile, receptive soil in which the vivifying Word of His Gospel finds purchase, takes root, and bears much fruit. Through the Spirit’s ministry of God’s Word and Sacraments, we receive the adoption as beloved sons and daughters crying out, “Abba! Father!” Praise God!

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Restless Souls (and Legs)

Are you tired? Are you burdened? Do you feel weary? Jesus says to you: “Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest.” As we come to Jesus in faith, He takes our burdens upon Himself and gives us rest for our souls. Yoked to Christ in our Baptism, our standing in the presence of God the Father is guaranteed because of Him. We gather together for worship today, knowing that as Jesus first comes to us with forgiveness and new life, we can then offer Him our prayers and praise. This is the Father’s gracious will. May He bless us as we gather before Him!

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Welcome to All in this Place

We live in a world where leadership is lifted up, yet we forget that leaders first learn to follow. Following is never easy, especially when the going gets tough. It can be hard enough to follow people we know, respect, and trust. It can be even harder to follow an unseen God who speaks to us through His eternal Word, strengthens us through bread and wine, and leads and guides us by His Spirit. Yet, that is our calling. In the midst of struggle, persecution, famine, joblessness, and conflict, we listen to the One we know, respect, and trust because He is our Creator, our Savior, and is always with us to the end of the age. Praise God!

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Forgiveness of Sins

How many times have you thought the grass was greener on the other side? We sometimes feel that tension with our jobs and relationships. We might be dissatisfied with what we have now and think something better is just over there. Through our Baptism into Jesus’ name, we have the very best, because we are God’s children. Yet, we still live in this world, and the chains that once held us captive in sin seem to entice us to our former way of living. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

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Continuing Compassion

People all over our country celebrated Father’s Day as we gave thanks for our earthly dads, grandfathers, and other men who are special to us. Every time we gather in the Lord’s house for worship, our time together can also be seen as a Father’s Day. As we are reminded in our Readings this weekend, God, our heavenly Father, has reconciled us to Himself through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. By our Father’s grace, we are made His “treasured possession.” As those who receive His Word and are filled with His Spirit, He forms us into “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” We approach Him directly and confidently as children do their loving Father. May your time in our Father’s house be blessed always!

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God!

This weekend the Church celebrated Trinity Weekend. It is a day to bask in the wonder of knowing the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who has been revealed to us in the Scriptures. While we often think about the three persons of the Trinity having their own areas of expertise (the Father creates, the Son redeems, the Spirit sanctifies), the Readings for today focus on how the three persons of the Trinity work together in every task. In the Old Testament Reading from Genesis, we see all three persons are present and active in the creation of the world. And in the Holy Gospel from Matthew, we see that all three persons are active in the new life we have as baptized children of God.

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O Living Breath of God

“What does this mean?” This question might sound familiar to anyone who has spent time studying Luther’s Small Catechism. As the catechism covers each of the Six Chief Parts, the question is asked again and again: “What does this mean?” And then explanation follows. This same question was asked by many in the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2. As the people hear and see these miraculous events, they are amazed and perplexed, asking one another, “What does this mean?” In the verses that follow, Peter gives explanation from the Old Testament. He proclaims that God has fulfilled His promise to “pour out His Spirit on all flesh.” The gift of the Holy Spirit has been given for all nations. As you celebrate the Day of Pentecost today, reflect on these events by asking yourself, “What does this mean—for me?”

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Jesus is the Way!

Only after Easter were the disciples able to understand Jesus’ words. Now they knew that He was and is God in the flesh, our way to the Father. So sure were they, that Stephen could echo Jesus’ last words as he faced death. Peter, in the Epistle, was able to review prophetic words of Scripture that they now knew spoke of Jesus. Today it is our turn to proclaim Jesus as the way, truth, and life, so that our friends will also know who He is and join us to live in His marvelous light.

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The Gate

Thanks to the grace of God working faith in our hearts, we are able to hear the voice of Jesus, our Shepherd. What that would mean, were we to block out competing voices around us, is described in Acts—the members of the Early Church were active in teaching, fellowship, communion, prayers, and works of charity. Their actions spoke volumes, and many others “heard” Christ through them. We all stray, of course, as did the people to whom Peter wrote in today’s Epistle. But in His grace, God calls us back to return to “the Shepherd and Overseer” of our souls. We gather again to hear His voice today.

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