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Pentecost 16                         Ezekiel 33:7-11                                            September 24, 2017

God calls Ezekiel a watchman. What does a watchman do? He is supposed to watch out for danger. And if there is danger he is supposed to tell someone about it!  What if you had to check your fire alarms in the morning to see if you had a fire last night. If there is danger you want to know about it right now. Even if it means waking up in the middle of the night, even if it is uncomfortable, the information is time sensitive you need to know now!

You don’t have to run in fear like the rest of the world. When you feel guilty for your sins, you know that it’s not just you that forgives yourself, but it’s God who sets the standard for what is good and evil. He has forgiven your sins. That’s something really special. When there is turmoil in this world. You know that it’s not just random acts of violence and you should be terrified, but you know there is still a God who loves you that is in control of everything. You know that beyond this life and death there is everlasting happiness for all who believe. You get the opportunity to share those messages with this world. 

The Watchmen

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Sermon 1613                          Romans 12.1-8                                              September 17, 2017

Everybody in construction, from the architect to the plan checkers, from the general contractor and the foreman to the tile layers, knows how interconnected everything in the building is.  It all has to fit and it is all important.  Got a six inch duct for the HVAC?  But there’s only 5 inches of clearance!  No problem, raise the second floor two inches for good measure.  Then the support beams will be 2 inches too short!  “Hey, isn’t there supposed to be a fire sprinkler system in this building?  You are going to need another water line.”

If everyone were geniuses, there would be no change orders and the buildings would come in under budget.  On earth, dealing with human beings all around, we are just happy when a construction project gets done at all.

How different it is when God put together his holy, Christian Church!

Jesus Put Us Here for Each Other

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Sermon 1612                          Matthew 16.13-20                                              September 10, 2017

“There’s one more angel in heaven, one more star in the sky.”

Genetic studies have shown the Bible is false—inhabitants of Beirut come from Canaanite lineage whom God told the Israelites to exterminate!

 “Lord, are you now going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

False interpretations of the Bible shouldn’t drive me crazy, but they do.  I don’t like it when people talk smack about my loved ones.  And I love Jesus.

And I don’t like it when Christians stop in their tracks.  If the devil can’t kill us or persecute us, then he will try to get us to sit on our hands.  The misinterpretation of this passage is one of the tools the devil loves using.

You’ve seen the picture.  A little church on a wind-swept island with the waves crashing against it.  How, oh how in the world will this little flock survive?  Just hold on!  Just.  Hold.  On.  Makes you feel good just to keep your own faith in such a vicious world, doesn’t it?

Rubbish.  Look at the Word of God we hold in our hand.  Look at the faith in our heart and the confession on our lips.

It's a Battering Ram, Not a Shield

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Sermon 1611                          Matthew 15.21-28                                              September 3, 2017

How do you know what you think about God?  I think that’s a fair question.

It would be pointless to ask Americans if they thought God existed, because ever since religious surveys have been taken, 95% of Americans show they believe there is a god.  They may disagree what that god or gods are, but they acknowledge a higher power.  So what do you think of God?

It would be equally pointless to ask what people thought about God.  I would venture every one of the respondents would say that God is powerful, loving and good.  You see, we are not living in a post-Christian, post-modern world.  God is very much alive in the hearts and minds of people.  They just choose to overrule him a lot.

But how do you know God is loving?  How do you know God is one God and not many gods?  How do you know about your God, that he is good?  That’s the question Luther answered clearly and for all time.

We know about a loving and forgiving God from Scripture alone.  “That’s it?” the world asks in disbelief.  “That’s it.”  “Why, that’s birdseed, crumbs compared to the pursuit of knowledge in other areas.”  “Then crumbs it will be."

Crumbs from Jesus Would Be Enough

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Pentecost 12                          Matthew 14                                               August 27th, 2017

Have you had those days when it feels like you are in an episode of 24 that every minute you are putting out a fire just trying to survive? Or maybe it's expanded out a bit to be a week, or a month, or a year or longer where you feel like you are a little boat on a big lake just getting beaten down by the waves and you aren’t sure how much more of it you can take. Every time you think you are going to get a break, the hits just keep on coming. Every time you think you think it can’t get any worse, it does. I’m not trying to be depressing but that is life sometimes. And if you have felt that way or you feel that way. Listen to Jesus’ words to you today. 

“Take courage, It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

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Sermon 1610                          Isaiah 55.1-5                                              August 20, 2017

I am going to warn you ahead of time.  Almost every time I get into this pulpit until Thanksgiving, I’m going to be convincing you, wooing you, selling you on the truths of the Reformation.  On October 31st it will have been 500 years since a Roman Catholic monk, Martin Luther, posted his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, inviting the faculty to join him in a scholarly debate as to whether you could buy forgiveness of sins with money or good deeds.  It seems you couldn’t even bring up certain subjects back then, either.  With increasing force the powers that be tried to silence Luther.  “Here I stand,” he famously said, when confronted with a choice of taking back everything he had written or face the wrath of the Empire.  He would not back down.  We usually hear about the Reformation one week during the year and then we go back thinking that our church is like any other Christian denomination and we all pretty much teach the same thing.

So I warn you today, we are going to hear about the truths of the Reformation whenever I get into this pulpit, not because this pulpit is Lutheran, but because it is Christian and the truths of the Reformation are the true teachings as drawn from the Bible.  We are going to see that time and time again, from prophets and apostles, from the life of Christ to the life of his people.  Our text from the prophet Isaiah, writing 700 years before the birth of Jesus, is a perfect example.

Come and Be Filled

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Sermon 1609                          1 Kings 3.10-12                                              August 13, 2017

What would you wish for if the Lord gave you one request?  Or do you think he’s too busy?  What if I told you he came to King Solomon and told him to ask whatever he wanted and the Lord would do it for him.  What do you think young King Solomon asked for?  And why would it be in the Bible if it weren’t something we should learn from?

The short answer is God does come to us and offers to give us what we need, so ask for it!  He treated Solomon that way and he will treat you, me, this congregation that way.  So what should we ask for, especially on this day when we install our Sunday School teachers and Mrs. Revis as a teacher and Director of our Green Valley Lutheran Preschool and Kindergarten?

Make Her Wise