Sermons by “Pastor Ball”

Witness

Pastor Ball tells us this weekend, “Witnessing requires no training, no special talents, you don’t have to jump up and down, and it might just be good for you.  Jesus shows the disciples how it is done as He invites them to touch and see.

A witness is simply someone who tells what he or she has experienced.  Jesus has made us witnesses of the resurrection.  No, we weren’t there with the disciples, and so there are parts that we can only see through their eyes, but when we live faithfully others can see Jesus through our eyes, as we see Jesus working all around us.  That’s the power of Easter!  Jesus lives, and therefore there is so much left for us to witness.  Every day.”

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Standing Out in the Crowd!

Palms and passion hardly seem to fit together but in Jesus they do. The palms welcomed Jesus to the triumph of suffering that paid the full price of our sin, and the hosannas cried out to Him who exchanged His life for death that we might live. There are no palms and hosannas that do not end in the cross, and there is no passion that does not lead us to faith and to rejoice in what His suffering accomplished. Our Lord came to the cross not as an unwilling victim but as the One who alone surrendered His life into death. We do not come to the Lord under coercion or as people compelled but at the bidding of the Gospel and by the power of the Holy Spirit! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

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My Cross to Bear

This weekend, Pastor Ball’s message comes to us from Mark 8:34:

“Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him. “If anyone wants to come with me,” he told them, “he must forget himself, carry his cross, and follow me.”

Pastor tell us, “Carrying your cross is recognizing that God can do abundantly more with your life than you can ever accomplish on your own. In that understanding, we willingly surrender our lives allowing God to order our steps and influence our direction.

Carrying the cross is allowing God’s word to speak to us. It is trusting that God’s promises still hold true for us today.

When God promises to always work for our good — we believe it.
When He says His word will endure — we trust Him.

This is the work of faith because there are so many voices encouraging us to place our trust elsewehere. There are many reasons to grow discouraged and to have doubts.

To carry our cross we need to let go of everything else. Because we can’t grip this life too tightly and still have our hands free to carry this cross.

But together, faithfully obedient to God’s Word, and connected through the Holy Spirit we can carry this cross into Hilton and beyond.” Praise God!

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To know Jesus is to be joyful!

Pastor Ball’s sermon focus this weekend was “To know Jesus is to be joyful.”

“Hear again the words Paul writes in our Epistle lesson: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances.

If you hear that as daunting homework. If you understand that as an untouchable standard. Then you’re missing the joy of Jesus – Paul is saying that the life of a Christian is one that expresses joy, devotion and gratitude.

To live as a follower of Jesus, is to live like Jesus.

Rejoicing always is choosing a glad attitude. Prayer without ceasing is to be in constant conversation with God. To acknowledge God’s presence. To stay in relationship with Him. Giving thanks means being grateful. It is recognizing God as the giver of all good things, seeing our role as the fortunate recipients of His generosity.

God is love. Jesus is joy. May that joy be yours as we travel together this Advent Season.”

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Distracted Living

God has perfect focus and He gives us gifts to fight against distraction. Just imagine what a little more focus could do in your life. What would it be like if we could really fix our eyes on Jesus? God is always dialed in on you even with nobody else seems to notice what you are going through. From the moment He gave you life, He has desired for this life to be a never ending walk with Him. There is nothing in all of creation that has been able to separate you from God’s love. God is perfectly focused on us. And we have the God given ability to focus on Him, His good and perfect will.

In our prayers we often ask God to bless us, but in our focused moments we can see those blessings all around. We see that God’s Word is true. May we all bring God back into focus this season for our blessing and for the benefit of those around us. Amen!

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The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Pastor Ball’s message this weekend is based on Matthew 25:1-13 and the parable of the Ten Virgins. 

“Repent the end is near!” is not the cry of the Christian.  Instead, it should be, “Look, the kingdom of God is at hand!”  Like the lighted procession described in the parable, our voices should point others to see that God’s kingdom has come.  But in the end, with the sound of a trumpet and the cry of command Jesus, our King, will return!  And the dead in Christ will rise first and all His faithful children from every corner of this world will receive the blessings that God has intended from His first word of creation, as in that moment we will all be with the Lord!”

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What is Caesar’s and What Is God’s?

Our God rules the lives of His faith-filled people by grace for Jesus’ sake. It’s what we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come.” The Lutheran Confessions call this His kingdom of the right hand. But, on the other hand, the left, He also rules through civic authorities. Through Isaiah, He tells King Cyrus that he will be His servant. And the king did let the Jewish exiles return from Babylon! When Jesus’ opponents thought to trick Him in saying something against Caesar, He taught about giving the powers that be their due. When the Church in Thessalonica spread the Gospel, they certainly benefitted from the orderliness of the Roman Empire. On the one hand, God is to be thanked for His grace and mercy; on the other hand, we praise Him for using the government that we may enjoy the physical life He gives us.

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God Gives Us Joy!

Sometimes it feels as though this time in which we live is the very first time that people directly challenge God. Yet this feeling is inaccurate. We are reminded by Ezekiel that God’s people were going around saying, “God is not just” already at the time of the prophets. Distrust of God has been around even longer, since Adam and Eve questioned the goodness of God. In the Gospel, chief priests and elders question the authority of Jesus. Nothing new. But Jesus doesn’t react angrily. Instead, He lets His actions speak louder than words. With very few words, Jesus would go on trial, be wrongly convicted, suffer beatings, be mercilessly crucified, and be raised from the grave. In Christ, we need not fear scoffers. We don’t need to respond by being snarky. We don’t need to try to silence anyone. We simply trust the authority of Jesus’ death and resurrection and follow His way of loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us. Rather than return evil for evil, we turn to the crucified and risen Jesus and live.

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You Are Not the Judge

The Readings for the weekend focused on living together under the kingship of God. Joseph forgave his brothers, even though they had sold him into slavery. Paul urges us not to quarrel over opinions about earthly matters, but to honor the Lord in all we do. Jesus tells a parable about God’s overwhelming forgiveness and how such forgiveness leads us to forgive others. We can live under the kingship of God only because He has forgiven our sins. In Jesus, God has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. We practice such forgiveness with one another, living together as the family of Christ. 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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