Festival of St. Bartholomew – "The Lord Is My Keeper" – Psalm 121- 8/24/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

The text for our consideration this morning is the Psalm appointed for the Festival of St. Bartholomew, Psalm 121.

A very brief bit of background on Bartholomew before we begin however. Bartholomew is listed as one of the 12 disciples in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels. Luke again includes Bartholomew in the list of Apostles in his book of Acts. That however are the only times that Bartholomew’s name is mentioned in the bible.

One of the names that’s missing from all of the lists of disciples is Nathanael, the friend of Phillip who is known for blurting out those memorable words, “can anything good come out of Nazareth.” And then he met Jesus OF NAZARETH.

In a time when it was not uncommon for someone to be known by more than one name, there’s a good chance that Bartholomew and Nathanael are one and the same.

But it is always dangerous to preach a sermon based on assumption. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Leave a comment

Pentecost 8 – "Mange, Mange" – Matthew 14:13-21 – 8/3/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

In Genesis chapter 2, we read, “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Gen.2:7). A ‘living creature’ with an appetite. The ‘living creature’ is an ‘eating creature.’

That’s why God created things in the order that He did. First He created everything necessary to feed this ‘living creature.’ Then He created the ‘living creature’ and showed him everything there is to eat. And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the faced of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” (Gen.1:29). “And out of the ground the Lord made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.” (Gen.2:9).

And in the background you can almost hear the angels singing, “mange, mange.” (At least the Italian angels.) Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off

Pentecost 10 – "The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like…" – Matthew 13:44-52 – 7/27/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

“Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Occasionally while channel surfing, I’ll come to the “Antiques Roadshow.” People bring their ‘stuff’ to the experts to have it appraised to see if it’s worth anything. Usually it’s something either been passed down to them or something they picked up at a yard-sale for less than $20 bucks. And the appraiser gives a brief history of the item and then tells what its worth. And the owner of the treasure is always shocked. “I had no idea it was worth that much.”

The record find so far was set in 2011. A man had five, Chinese cups carved out of rhinoceros horn that he picked up somewhere because they looked interesting. When he was told that they were valued at between 1 and 1.5 million dollars, he responded, “Seriously? Wow. I guess I won’t have to depend on Social Security anymore.”

And I’m like, ‘yea, if you can actually find someone willing to actually pay that for rhinoceros horns.’

That’s NOT WHAT THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE. But that is what THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IS LIKE. We don’t know what we have. We have Jesus Christ, and He is the Son of God. “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” (Col.2:9) In Him, you have the forgiveness of all of your sins and power of almighty God on your side and the only cure for death that there is, and the second by second guidance and care of the Holy Spirit.

And that’s only a spec of it. That’s only a fraction of a fraction of the value of this treasure that you possess. Because that’s only what you have in this time and this world. You have Jesus Christ, and He is eternal life.

We have been given this treasure, this precious pearl in our baptism. And we carry this treasure around with us and we don’t realize what we’ve got. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off

Festival of St. Mary Magdalene – John 20:1-2, 10-18 – 7/20/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

Mary Magdalene seems to be one of those persons about whom people love to gossip. Throughout the church’s history, people have tried to connect her to the woman caught in adultery whom Jesus told to “go and sin no more.” But there’s nothing in the Scriptures that actually connects Mary to whoever this woman was.

In our own day, Dan Brown claims that the secret DaVinci Code identifies Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ wife by whom she had a child whose descendants are still among us today. It’s ridiculous, of course. But a little gossip sells a lot of books and makes a lot of money.

I’m not sure why she attracts so much gossip. There’s enough in the Scriptures to develop a fairly complete picture of Mary without having to make stuff up. In fact, other than Mary the mother of our Lord, no other woman in the New Testament has as much written about her in the gospels as Mary Magdalene does.

And not all that is written about her is pretty. If there’s one thing that the gospel writers seem to want us to know about Mary it is that she was someone who was possessed by demons. And not just one or two, but seven.

St. Luke writes that those who traveled with Jesus were ‘the 12’ “and also several women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene from whom seven demons had gone out….” (Luke 8:2).

St. Mark writes that when Jesus “rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.” (Mark 16:9)

That nasty little part of Mary’s life is certainly not covered up or hidden by the gospel writers. Everyone knew it and they seem to want to be sure that we know it too. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off

Funeral – Kathleen Marie Pryor – "Like A Little Child" – Mark 10:13-16 – 7/19/14

Kathleen Marie Pryor, 58, passed away on July 6, 2014. She was born in Waterville, Maine on September 18, 1955. Kathy is survived by her parents, Don and Marlene Pryor of Benton; her brother, James, of Waterville; her sisters, Debra Haske and her husband, John, of West Virginia, and Donna Wilson and her husband, Greg, of Benton. She is also survived by her nephews, Justin Pryor and his wife, Abbie, of Maryland, Luc Poulin and his wife, Emily of Virginia and Daniel Wilson, of Benton; and her nieces, Amanda Poulin, of Virginia, Danielle Poulin of Ohio and Juli Bearce and her husband, Jayson, of Waterville… She will be missed by Jaimi and Paula Cole, Mikayla and Breanna and her KFI friends who so lovingly watched over her.

As obituary’s go, this one is brief and quite modest. It says nothing about Kathy’s hobbies or accomplishments in life as many obituaries do. It says nothing about the people whom she loved. It mentions only her date of birth and date of death and the family and friends who loved her and took care of her.

There are people who are remembered for what they have achieved and accomplished during their life. Some are remembered for their passion for certain hobbies or interests. Some are remembered by their love for their parents or their spouse or their children or their neighbors or a favorite pet.

But Kathy is remembered primarily by those who loved her and took care of her. Kathy was a person who required a lot from others. She was not one of those ‘independent’ people that we tend to admire and strive to become like. She was ‘dependant’ on others to take care of her and provide for her all her needs.

Would it be safe to say that for Kathy’s entire 58 years of life, she was a little child? And if it is safe to say that, then I think it is also safe to say that Kathy leads us right to the Gospel reading we just heard? Continue reading

Posted in Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off

Pentecost 5 – "The Parable of the Sower – It's a Miracle" – Matthew 13:1-23 – 7/13/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

Miracles are the demonstration of the power of God before our eyes. Water turned to wine, a stormy sea instantly calmed, a catch of fish that is way beyond luck, the blind receive their sight, the leprous are cleansed, and the dead child and the dead man are raised from the dead.

Those are miracles. Demonstrations of the power of God before your eyes – so that you may believe. Believe what? That Jesus Christ is who He says He is – the Son of God in the flesh dwelling among us, full of power to do what He has come into this world to do, which is, to make everything right.

Parables on the other hand are just stories. They are stories about the Kingdom of God. “A sower went out to sow.” “A shepherd goes after one of his sheep.” “A woman lost one of her coins.” “A son disowns his father and is later sorry that he did and comes home and the father welcomes him.”

Nothing miraculous in that. Pretty common, everyday stuff really. But hidden within the story is a revelation of how things work in the Kingdom of God. Hidden within every one of those stories is a window into the heart of man and the heart of God.

Why? So that you may believe? Believe what? That Jesus Christ is who He says He is – the Son of God in the flesh dwelling among us, full of power to do everything that He has come into this world to do, which is, to make everything right.

The gospel text that is appointed for this morning is the PARABLE of the SOWER. But I tell you that it is really a MIRACLE. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off

Pentecost 4 – Rest For The Soul – Romans 7:14-25 – 7/6/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

I get it. I really do. I’ve been baptized, and I am a child of God. I’ve been instructed in the faith. I believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible TRUTH. I know the difference between right and wrong. I know what I should do and shouldn’t do and I want to do what is right before God.

But I don’t get it. I really don’t. Why am I such a failure? It’s pathetic.
 When I know I should keep quite I open my big mouth and when I know I should speak up I don’t say a thing.
 I know what I should do but it’s like an all out war with myself to actually do it. And I know what I shouldn’t do, but its like, ‘yea, why not?’
 I know that I should read my bible to get to know God’s Word and I should pray, but man, I’m busy, gotta run. But it amazes me how easily I make time for lots of other things not nearly so important.
 I know I should tithe on my income and believe me, I want to, but when the time comes I just can’t let go of it. But when I see something I want, I can’t believe how easily I fork it out.

It’s ridiculous. It’s disgusting really. What’s wrong with me? Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off

The Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist – Luke 1:57-80 – 6/22/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

“When all the world was cursed by Moses’ condemnation,
Saint John the Baptist came with words of consolation.
With true forerunner’s zeal, the greater One he named.
And Him, as yet unknown, as Savior he proclaimed.” (LSB #346:1)

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist, and in doing so, we do what the Christian Church has been doing ever since the 4th century AD when it put this day onto the Church Calendar as a day for the Church to remember and celebrate.

Technically speaking, the OFFICIAL day for this Feast is this coming Tuesday, June 24th. So, why did the church pick June 24th to celebrate the birth of John the Baptist? Well, because of Jesus. It’s always, all about Jesus.

If you’ll recall from St. Luke’s gospel, when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth was already six months pregnant. So, John is 6 months older than his cousin. Jesus’ birth was fixed on December 25th and six months before that is June 24th. Like I said, it’s always, all about Jesus.

To put the birth of John the Baptist into perspective, his is the only birth recorded in the New Testament other than that of Jesus. There are lots of ‘saints days’ on the church’s calendar for us to observe, but all of the other ‘saints’ are remembered for the DEATH. John is the only one besides our Lord who is honored for his BIRTH.

The circumstances of John’s BIRTH are remarkable in themselves. He is conceived under a CLOUD OF DOUBT. When the angel Gabriel informed his father Zechariah, that he would have a son, Zechariah replied saying, “How shall I know this?” Jesus is conceived CLOUD OF FAITH. When the same angel Gabriel informed Mary that she would have a son, she replied saying, “let it be to me according to Thy word.” So, even in his conception, John points to Jesus who is GREATER THAN HE IS.

John was a “miracle baby.” Luke informs us that his mother Elizabeth was ‘barren.’ She was incapable of having children, and both mother and father were “advanced in years.” His was an impossible birth. So, even by his birth, John points to another ‘miracle baby’ whose mother was very young and a virgin.

Upon hearing the news of the angel and being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, Mary travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth. “And she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.” So, even while he is still a fetus in the womb of Elizabeth, John points to Jesus, even while Jesus is still a fetus in the womb of Mary. Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off

Trinity – "Who God Is" – Athanasian Creed – 6/15/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

I. Who God Is
“Whoever will be saved shall, above all else, hold the catholic faith. Which faith, except everyone keeps whole and undefiled, without doubt he will perish eternally.” This is how the Athanasian Creed begins.

The “catholic faith” is then spelled out in great detail. “And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God, in three persons and the three persons in one God, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance…” etc. etc. etc.

And then the Athanasian Creed concludes with these words. “This is the catholic faith which, except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.” (Athanasian Creed). In other words, its do or die.

If the Athanasian Creed sounds strange to our ears, it may be because we’re not used to talking about WHO GOD IS. We’re a lot more accustomed to talking about WHAT GOD DOES.

He creates, He redeems, He sanctifies. He comforts, He guides, He hears my prayers, He answers my prayers. “He works all things for good to those who love Him….”

We like talking about God in terms of WHAT HE DOES – especially WHAT HE DOES FOR ME. And I’m not suggesting for one minute that we should not think and talk about God in that way.

But the three, ecumenical Creeds, the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian creeds, talk a lot about WHO GOD IS. Especially the Athanasian Creed, which goes so far as to talk about WHO GOD IS NOT.

I think too, that there’s another reason why the Athanasian Creed sounds strange to our ears. It’s those sentences that bracket the whole thing. “Whoever will be saved shall, above all else, hold the catholic faith. Which faith, except everyone keeps whole and undefiled, without doubt he will perish eternally.” And, “This is the catholic faith which, except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.”

In a culture that demands INCLUSIVITY and ACCEPTANCE of every belief and way of life, the EXCUSIVITY so clearly enunciated here makes this Creed a tough pill to swallow, irregardless of what it actually says about God. We’ve become very familiar with a different sounding creed that goes something like this:

“Whoever will be saved shall, above all else, hold the human faith. Which faith, except everyone keeps whole and undefiled, without doubt, he will never reach his full potential. And the human faith is this, that we worship one god, in many persons, and each person is his own god; neither confusing the one god with the many beliefs, nor dividing the many beliefs into true or false, nor right or wrong. For there is only one god and every religion is the same, and every religion leads to the same god. This is the human faith which, except a woman/man believe faithfully and firmly, she/he cannot be taken seriously and must surely be rejected and silenced.” Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off

Pentecost – Acts 2:1-13 – "The Day Of Pentecost" – 6/8/14

Click play to listen to the audio version of this sermon.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To download the mp3 file, right click the image below and "save as."
sermon mp3

I. When the day of Pentecost arrived.
In the book of Leviticus, the 23rd chapter, Moses is told to establish a national holiday to celebrate the gathering of the harvest into the barn. It was something like our Thanksgiving, only it lasted a week and there was no college football or black Friday.

“You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the [first-fruits]. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath.” (Lev. 23:15-16).

At first it was called ‘THE FEAST OF WEEKS,’ based on the fact that it was always scheduled for “seven full weeks” after the Firstfruits of the harvest were cut.

Later it became known as ‘THE FEAST OF PENTECOST,’ based on the “fifty days to the day” after the Firstfruits. The word ‘PENTECOST’ literally means, ‘Fiftieth.’

On the 50th day after the first-fruits were harvested, Israel would waive sheaves of wheat and barley before the Lord as a thank-offering for His love and care for His people.

The Feast of Pentecost, like all of the Old Testament Feasts, like the whole Old Testament for that matter, was a sign pointing to something greater than itself. The Pentecost of the Old Testament consisted of the celebration of the harvest of wheat and barley. The seed that had been planted had produced its crop and the people of God give thanks to God for it.

But God had a much different crop than wheat and barley in mind when He planted the holy seed of the woman in the ground. The Pentecost of the New Testament, that we celebrate today, is the celebration of the harvest of men and women, boys and girls who have been and continue to be created in the likeness of Jesus Christ and who grow in faith. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) Continue reading

Posted in Audio Sermons, Sermons - Lutheran - LCMS | Comments Off