Sermons & Media Outlet

The Widow’s Mite

Pastor Mark’s message this weekend was based on the Gospel of St. Mark, the twelfth chapter, with the story of the Widow and her Mite: “We should love God the way the widow does. As she drops her last two coins into the collection she knows her future is securely in His hands. She doesn’t look around for approval or for accolades. She isn’t paralyzed by the opinions of others. She also isn’t motivated by their evaluations of her. She chooses to give her all to God, to leave the rest to Him. What she is doing is very personal. It’s between her and God.

What happens next to this widow? Only God knows. But he does know, he does see and he does care.

And this is the jewel of this Gospel account. We have a God powerful enough to hold the world in His hands and personal enough to know us inside and out. God sees. God knows. God cares. Amen!”

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Postcards from Heaven

As we observed All Saints last weekend, Pastor Mark shares St. John’s glimmer of heaven in the Gospel.  “There may be many things about heaven that are unclear to us, things that we wish we knew, but God makes this much known – heaven is where we go to be with God the Father and to live together with all those who have died as children of God.  For all of us who have a close connection to the saints, heaven is the most beautiful realty.  A land of no more tears, and a home where once and for all death is defeated.  A place where we will never lose a loved one again.

All Saints reminds us that Jesus is Lord of the living and the dead and therefore we are truly never apart.  Jesus is Lord of all and we will see our loved ones face-to-face again in heaven.  And that’s all we need to know.”

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The Truth Will Set You Free

Pastor Mark tells us last weekend, “With Luther’s focus on the power of God, we explore today’s Gospel lesson of John 8:31-36. Jesus turns to the Jewish people who believed in him and says:

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

John’s Gospel begins: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was God.” Today, we have more access to Jesus’ word than even the disciples who followed Him on His earthly ministry. Are we drawing closer to him, or becoming numb and apathetic? Abiding in Jesus word is the key to freedom.

Jesus crucified and risen is the truth that sets all captives free. Abide in His word. Not as a rule, or just a healthy practice, but as a gift from God given daily. The truth that sets us free. Allow it to free you too.”

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Trust

This weekend’s Gospel starts with disciples obsessing over who’s number one, which leads Jesus to say something about God’s take on importance and power. Here Jesus makes it explicit that the reversal of values in God’s community is a direct challenge where the values of the dominant culture, where wielding power over others is what makes you great. When we pray “your kingdom come” we are praying for an end to tyranny and oppression. We pray this gathered around the cross, a sign of great shame transformed to be the sign of great honor and service.

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Stuff Happens

” Whatever it is that keeps our hearts and souls from knowing the goodness of Christ’s love for us, we get rid of it and leave it behind, and move on in the footsteps of Jesus who teaches us that his path is the one to take where the most valuable possessions of life just might be hope, peace, joy, gladness, comfort, contentment, love….God’s hand upon us. Let go of the stuff that keeps us from the path of Christ’s love and grace. In the meantime, maybe some of our stuff might be just what is needed by those who have little and less and have lost so much. We become richer when we remember to help the poor. The Lord be with you!”

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Ouch!

This weekend as we gather to listen to God’s Word and receive His gifts of grace, we are drawn close to the Redeemer, who has given His life in exchange for ours. Only in our relationship with Christ will we ever be made complete – members of His eternal kingdom, sons and daughters of our King. Once we see how our true identity is found in Jesus, we can better understand our unique roles in the relationships with one another that He has given to us.

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Cut It Off/Out!

“And I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” Do you actually look forward to the Last Day? There are many things or events to which we look forward with anticipation. We may even say, “I can’t wait!” for the day of graduation from high school or college; the wedding day; the first day on a new job. Yet we don’t say that when anticipating major surgery or the dentist or the loss of a loved one. Today Jesus has us look forward to a reward laid up for us on that day. James chimes in, saying whatever your circumstances, the Christian faith enables us to live with the hope and light of our promised deliverance. Praise God!

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God Graciously Loves

All three readings this weekend ring out with the gift of humility. Jeremiah, deeply hurt by those who sought to destroy him, still humbly leaves vengeance to the Lord. James exhorts believers not to think of themselves as wiser than anyone else, especially when the evidence of their lives was full of bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. James urges the wise to repent and to exhibit the humility Christ demonstrated by being “peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” When Jesus makes clear that He is on a path that leads to humiliation on the cross, the disciples haughtily argue about who among them is the greatest. By this they demonstrate that they did not understand what Jesus was saying. Jesus then teaches that the greatest thing in life is to be the servant of all. And to show them the simplicity of it, He picks up a child and exhorts them to receive him in humility. We live in a world still ruled much of the time by brashness, boasting, and exulting in lording over others. At times we are tempted to treat others who are not Christians in these sinful ways. Yet these readings work together to show us another way to live – humbly trusting God.

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Listen To Yourself

Three weeks ago we heard John’s gospel’s version of Peter’s confession of faith. This week we hear Mark’s version, when Peter says, “You are the Messiah.” In John, the stumbling block in Jesus’ invitation to eat his flesh, given for the life of the world. In Mark too the scandal has to do with Jesus’ words about his own coming death, and here Peter himself stumbles over Jesus’ words. But Jesus is anointed (the meaning of “Messiah”) in Mark only on the way to the cross (14:3); so we are anointed in Baptism with the sign of the cross.

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Jesus Opens Our Ears and Tongues

Every election cycle, millions upon millions of dollars are poured into campaigns across our land. Yard signs are displayed with candidates’ names imprinted in patriotic colors. Political pundits make their case for why their candidate is good and the other side’s is bad. Perhaps these are all warning signs that we can be tempted to put our trust in elected officials to save us from our woes, rather than in the Lord. Today’s Psalm reminds us, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation (Psalm 146:3). Rather than putting our trust in princes, politicians, and presidents, we put our trust in the Prince of Peace. Jesus Christ is the one, the only one, in whom there is salvation. Praise God!

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