Sermons by “Pastor Ball”

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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Taste and See

As we live out each day, we reflect on our faith in our words and actions. Each of us is an example of the Christian life as we struggle to live in forgiving love toward one another, and also as we continue to trust in the forgiveness Christ won for us.

In this weekend’s Epistle, Paul provides a list of what our life in Christ should look like because of our new birth in Baptism. In the Gospel, Jesus spells out the connection between receiving His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper and living in hope each day. He is the bread of life from heaven, who enables each of us to discard our old ways, live in the new life of God’s forgiving love, and adorn ourselves with gladness. Praise God!

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Jesus Is Our Peace

The Old Testament Reading for today speaks of Israel’s failed shepherds. They scattered the flock and failed to care for their people, yet Jeremiah records God’s promise of a righteous branch who would reign as King. That righteous one is the Good Shepherd, Jesus. In the Gospel, He fulfills the words of Psalm 23 by making the crowds of five thousand sit down in the green grass to be fed with five loaves and two fish. Jesus is the promised righteous Shepherd.

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Jesus Graciously Makes Us Righteous

When Amos speaks God’s Word to Israel, they do not want to hear it. Amos is told to prophesy elsewhere. John the Baptist’s message of repentance landed him in Herod’s prison and, eventually, in the grave. Speaking God’s Word is not always easy. It often meets resistance and sometimes even violence. As you gather with fellow hearers of God’s Word, consider how you have been resistant to God’s Word. Which portions have you chosen to skip over? Consider how you might better hear and speak God’s Word this week.

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The Kingdom of God Grows

“Now the green blade rises from the buried grain” is the first line of a well-known Easter carol. The wonder of God’s handiwork can be seen in the smallest things of God’s great creation. Even in a grain of mustard seed there is the promise of new life and fruitfulness. God provides for all of our needs out of love for His creatures. And He rejoices in the growth that occurs. As the “rolling seasons in fruitful order move” (LSB 893:1), we celebrate that in Christ we have a central role in God’s amazing plan as we grow in love.

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Pentecost

“You shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O My people. And I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live” (Ezekiel 37:13-14). This He has done in the hearts of everyone who has heard His saving Word, from Adam and Eve to you. To emphasize the universality of God’s desire, this weekend we recall that post-resurrection Day of Pentecost, when no barriers of language could hinder God’s work.

Jesus tells us that this Spirit He sends is from the Father. The Spirit comes to witness about Jesus and His work of salvation for all. That witness consists of both the truth about sin and about the Savior, Law and Gospel, to bring us to repentance and enliven our faith repeatedly, day by day as we live in His presence and the grace of God.

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The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages:
Quality Time – Time spent intentionally together is what matters here.
Physical Touch – When you are watching television do you sit on the same couch, or at opposite ends of the room?
Words of Affirmation – Hearing that you are loved matters most.
Acts of Service – Thoughful gestures like preparing a meal, or taking care of a needed task are affirmations of love.
Receiving Gifts – A note on the fridge, or remembering your favorite ice cream help secure the relationship.

Jesus said: “I am with you. I am for you. I forgive you.”

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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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