Article for the December Parish Newsletter
“Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29
Imagine what it must have been like in the days of John the Baptist. It would have looked like a good old-fashioned revival I think. Quite possibly the religious fervor was reignited amongst many believers. Or maybe not. It does say that men and women were coming from all over to hear this preacher. They came confessing their sins, it says, and being baptized in the Jordan River. Yet, people were still living their lives. They had to get up, make breakfast, go to work, make dinner, go to bed, and start it all over. This new preacher had come, and people were wondering if maybe he was another in a long line of Messiahs who never met their potential. These “chosen ones” who were each supposed to be the one that would restore the kingdom of Israel, only to fail.
Sermon for Christ the King Sunday, November 25, 2018 - John 18:33-37
The story goes of a Scottish minister who comes to America post-Revolution. He comes to Philadelphia on a ship and plans to serve churches in the area, and he enters into a tavern and he discovers a large sign on the wall, hand carved that says – “We have no kings here.” He then thought to himself, “Boy, I have my work cut out for me.” The land of independence. Of freedom. No kings. No sovereigns. Elected governments. We choose. At least we think we do.
So, what do we think of kings? Of princes? We love them in the tabloids. Royal weddings. Palace intrigue. The history. The names. But what does it mean for us to have a king? If we say of Jesus that he is King of kings and Lord of Lords, what do we mean? What does that change for us?
Pastor's Article for the Park Rapids Enterprise - November 24, 2018
There is such a great freedom in being a sinner. Being a true sinner, one who has come to grips with our reality and standing before God, we then become those who seek out the very thing we need: forgiveness. It causes us to have our lives fit around regular and daily confession. Regular and daily dying to self and living only in Christ, we take Romans 6 and make it the sweetest piece of Gospel we can find. Being those baptized into the death of Christ, drowned in Jesus and his work for us, we are then “buried with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life.”
Sermon for Service of Thanksgiving, November 20, 2018 - John 6:25-35
Depending on the day, depending on what type of workout I have done, or what I have had to eat earlier, I basically eat everything. I revert back to my days as a 16-year-old eating everything in sight. Eventually it comes back to haunt me. Laying in bed wishing I hadn’t had that last cookie. Imitating the old Alka-Seltzer commercial, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.”
Sermon for the Twenty-fifth Sunday of the Trinity Season - Mark 13:1-8
I ask you, what temple have you built? What stones have you hewn from the rock to construct some monument to whatever? God? Church? Self? Something? Anything? I ask because I know, since I do it all the time. Crafting my own savior, with a small “s”. A little deity to take the place of Jesus. Usually, myself. As a pastor, I get sucked into the realm of thought that I am supposed to make everything better for everyone.
Pastor's Article for Park Rapids Enterprise, November 17, 2018
Now some of you may have read last weeks article and been left thinking, “O great! Another liberal. He only wants God to be about loving everyone. Jesus going around loving and not judging. That’s not my Jesus.” Well, go to Mark 2. Read the story of the paralyzed man.
A man, paralyzed all his life, is brought by friends to a house where Jesus is teaching. It is so full they can’t get in and so they go up to the roof, rip off the shingles and tar paper. They take out the Skil saws and cut some of the plywood away and lower their friend down to Jesus.
Pastor's Article for the Park Rapids Enterprise, November 10, 2018
What do you remember from last week’s article? Genesis 3? Eve? Snake? Tree? Good and evil? Eye disease? Our sin being the very thought that we know what is best and that we can make the decisions on good and evil. The disease of open eyes that cause us to compare ourselves to fellow sinners and think ourselves more worthy than they of redemption.
There was one other thing. Near the end of my article. “The one who knew no sin, was made sin for our sakes, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Do you see those words? Read them out loud.
Pastor's Article for the Park Rapids Enterprise, November 3, 2019
I have to tell you, we have a problem. It’s a problem we don’t like to talk about because our problem causes us not to talk about it. But it isn’t what you think. It’s an eye malady. An eye disease. Something that makes us think that things are fine, or they can be fine, or will be fine, when we can’t even see for ourselves without some help.
Genesis 3. Eve is in the Garden of Eden, at the beginning of Scriptural history, going about her business. The snake comes to her in his craftiness and says, “Did God really say you can’t eat of any of the trees in the Garden?”
Sermon for All Saints' Sunday, November 4, 2018 - Revelation 21:1-6a
In the history of the church, there has been a standard practice, especially in the old world, of having the church building surrounded by the churchyard. Coming to church one would be confronted with the guarantee that one day they would themselves be in that place. Buried in that ground. Visited by fellow worshipers awaiting new life. Theologically and pastorally it works because you come to church and you have to walk past the saints to gather as the saints. Being forced to realize the truth of what unites us as mortals, and then gather in worship before the One who unites us as his children. As a family. As brothers and sisters in Christ who have been redeemed, ransomed from sin, death and the devil.
Sermon for All Saints' Day Service - November 1, 2018 "Matthew 5:1-12"
Blessed are you. I don’t know what that phrase means to you. With what you have been through. What you have lived through. Where you are now. I don’t know. What I do know is that Christ has said you are blessed and so you are.
That is the weird thing about the Beatitudes. I once heard a sermon from a man who called himself a preacher. He took each of these declarations of Jesus and turned them into Law. Into requirements for the Kingdom. It went well for him for a while. He called them the “To Be Attitudes.” Attitudes that we are supposed to have. Be poor in spirit, so be sad about yourself before God. Be comforted in mourning, so no sadness. Wait. What. Be sad but not? Be humble in order to take over the earth. Wait. How is that humble? Hunger to see justice be done and you will make it happen. But be merciful. Wait how does that work preacher? Be pure in heart and peacemakers. Ok. But wait there’s more. Be persecuted. Insulted. Falsely accused. Be a peacemaker, pursue justice, and yet accept persecution? What? Needless to say. Bad sermon.