Sermon - Trinity 8.2013

St Matthew 7.15-23 Trinity 8
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.7.21

In the name of the +Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A few weeks ago you were up on the Mount with Jesus, and He was preaching to you His Sermon on the Mount: “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,” Jesus said, “you cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven,” remember?

Yes, and last week you were back up on that mount with Jesus, this time to be fed by Him in that miraculous meal of the Feeding of the 4,000.

This is the Christian life. You need instruction / and you need sustenance. Jesus will be your teacher / and He will also be your Cook, of sorts. You listen to Him and you eat from Him. That is what happens on the Mount of the Lord. That / is Sunday morning.

But it can't stay Sunday morning all week (not yet at least). Monday morning must come and you must get off the mountain of the Lord and be sent off to your various duties in life: the laundry must be done, the farm needs tended to, the kids need to eat and play and grow, you need to go off and bring in the bacon so that the family can thrive and the bills get paid, you must interact with your coworkers and family and friends and enemies, in other words, you have a daily life to live. Rest is for the mountain; work is for the week.

Sermon - Trinity 6.2013

St Matthew 5.20-26 Trinity 6
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.7.7

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I must admit at the outset this morning / that when this portion of the Gospels come up in the Lectionary, I feel quite ashamed and silly to preach it. Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7 are Jesus' own Sermon on the Mount. The task at hand is to take a portion of Jesus' own Divine Sermon and make a sermon of my own. As tempted as I have been in the past (as was the case this week, too) to just read Jesus' sermon, say “Amen” and sit down, nonetheless, you've called me to this task, and our Lord has promised His blessing upon it, / so here goes (and hopefully not “nothing”):
You get angry, don't you? Then you murder your brother. Who is it that you get angry at? You have murdered that one.

Dearly beloved, we are called by God to a righteousness that exceeds any righteousness, any goodness, any morality that is found in the world. And that shows just how screwed up we are. Just think about it: God, who made this place, who created all that exists, He would not have given His creatures some foreign or enemy righteousness or goodness, but would have transmitted His own goodness not only to the outward things of the body, but also to the inner things of the soul. And so it was: man was created in God's image, yes, even with God's own righteousness and goodness. Man's heart, mind and soul were conformed to God.

Sermon - Trinity 5.2013

St Luke 5.1-11 Trinity 5
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.6.30

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Being a fool for Christ. Is it wise? / And is there strength / in weakness?

Elisha left everything / and went after Elijah and assisted him in the prophetic work of the Lord. The story goes like this:
So [Elijah] departed from [the mountain] and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him.  And [Elisha] left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me [first] kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”  And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

Elisha was only a farmer, what did he know about all this prophet stuff? And who would want to be troubled with such suffering and persecution? For what? You know what happens to prophets? Elijah himself declares that prophets get killed, that is there end. People will hate you, Elisha, why do you follow Elijah? Why leave everything you've work for, everyone you love, including your mother and father, why assist Elijah when it means death for you? It's foolishness.

Sermon Trinity 4.2013

St Luke 6.36-42 Trinity 4
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.6.23

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In today’s Collect we prayed that the “course of this world” would be so “peaceably ordered by God’s governance” that His Church would “joyfully serve Him” – and here’s the phrase I'd like us to concentrate on this morning – “in all godly quietness.”

What is this “godly quietness” for which we ask? In brief, it is the peace of heart (the quiet and calm that can rule in our hearts) even in the midst of the most difficult and trying times. / As you'll hear in just a bit, this godly quietness is nothing less than the peace that passes understanding, which guards your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. In other words / one who has this godly quietness doesn’t fret and get all worked up, but instead entrusts him or herself completely into the hands of God. Godly quietness of heart is one of the fruits of faith, and Joseph (whom we heard about in the Old Testament Reading) is a great example of this.

Sermon - Trinity 3.2013

St Luke 15.1-10; Micah 7:18-20 Trinity 3
St Johns Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.6.16 

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Micah has a hard time understanding what sort of a God this is that Israel has. In the Old Testament reading for today he wrote, "Who is a God like you?...Pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression... He does not retain His anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love." 

God is hard to understand because He's so different from us; unlike our merciful God we have a problem with retaining anger.  Someone gets under our skin and we tend to hang onto the anger until it turns to bitterness.  But there must be no hanging onto anger / when you're hanging about with the God of Israel.  He's the God who loves to forgive, to pardon, to pass over transgression.  He looks for excuses and opportunities to wipe out sin and reestablish relationships.  He longs to show mercy!  And He invites us to live in that bounty of forgiveness, that river of mercy.

Sermon - 1st Sunday after Trinity

St John 16.19-31 Trinity 1
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.6.2

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Gospel reading records a story that Jesus told to the Pharisees. Whether this story is true or not, we aren't told. It certainly could be, as Jesus uses the names of real people: Jesus' good friend, Lazarus, and the patriarch Abraham; though, the circumstances surrounding this story make it seem a bit unrealistic.

Whatever the case, God saw fit that we didn't need to know, so we don't; and that's just fine. The important part / is the story itself. It is a story about the two extremes of earthly life: abundance / and scarcity; having everything you ever imagined / verses having nothing but the filthy clothes on your back; being rich / verse being poor.

Sermon - In Memoriam +Dwayne Norman Jahlas 1943-2013

In Memoriam + Dwayne Jahlas
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA

Job 19:21-27
Hebrews 2:14-16
John 3:16-17

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God urges us to come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy in time of need. It is now our time of need. We have lost a loved one. We cannot yet go where he has gone. We must carry on in this life / without him. There are no easy answers or solutions. Some things must simply be endured.

And so we look to our Lord for the strength to endure. Our Lord does not disappoint; Dwayne's Confirmation verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13, it is printed on the front of your bulletin. It says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Sermon - Closing Chapel at LIS, Williamsburg

Closing Chapel at Lutheran Interparish School, Williamsburg, IA
Occasion: The Feast of the Visitation of Our Lord (observed)
Text: Luke 1.39-56

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It really is all about Jesus. We want it to be all about us. Repent.

In Memoriam +Marilyn Elner Neuhaus+ 1932-2013

St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Just about 81 years. 81 years ago she wasn't supposed to be alive. 81 years / of fighting death. (I don't need to recount all the struggles and tragedy and heartaches that Marilyn faced, you know them all better than I, you lived through them with her.) // How does a person live 81 years in such a condition like Marilyn lived? // Strength / and Hope.

Sermon - Holy Trinity.2013

St John 3.1-17 The Holy Trinity
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.5.26

In the holy name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.

Such a powerful, divine Truth. Not three holies, but one holy—one, holy God.

This is the catholic faith. Whether you are Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Orthodox, or non-denominational. If you desire to be saved, this is the catholic, the “universal” faith that you must hold, keep, and believe. In other words, no one can be saved, unless he keeps this faith, and keeps the object of this faith, that is, the Holy Trinity.

Sermon - Pentecost.2013

St John 14.23-31 Pentecost
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.5.19

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Why do we celebrate Pentecost? It's an Old Testament, Israelite observance prescribed by the Mosaic Law in Exodus, chapter 34. There it is called the Feast of Weeks; seven weeks to be exact; actually seven weeks, plus one day to be exactly exact. / It was a required Feast Day, which meant that all able-bodied males must attend the ceremonies, which much later meant that some of them had to travel many miles up to Jerusalem (normally on foot, probably uphill both ways). For Israel, it was the celebration of the Harvest-time; each head of the household must bring his first-fruits as an acceptable offering to the Lord. For us Christians, / Jesus is that first-fruit. He was the once and for all time acceptable offering, made on our behalf. So I ask again, why do we celebrate Pentecost?

Sermon - Pentecost Eve.2013

John 14.15-21 Pentecost Eve
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.5.12

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tomorrow / is a Birthday Party. Of course, you are all invited. And why wouldn't you be? It's your party. For tomorrow / is Pentecost, / the Birthday of the Church. You, dearly beloved, are the Church; it's your Birthday Party. But more on that tomorrow.

Tonight / we prepare.

Sermon - Cantate (Easter 5).2013

St John 16.5-15 Cantate (Easter 5)
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.4.28

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Singing. It is a natural act that flows out of a joyful heart. I do not mean to suggest that if you aren't singing, you aren't joyful. There are plenty of people who are joyful, but (for whatever reason) they just aren't the singing type. What I am suggesting / is that we sing willingly / only when we are joyful.

Homily-LIS School Chapel, 2013.4.24

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus prayed a lot. Throughout the Gospels we are told how Jesus went away and prayed by himself, how He prayed in the synagogues, and how he prayed at other times as well. It would be nice to know all the things that Jesus prayed for, but the problem is that there aren't enough books in the world to contain all of Jesus' prayers. So we're thankful for the prayers that we do have.

Sermon - Jubilate (Easter 4).2013

St John 16.16-22 
Jubilate (Easter 4)
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

We will see Jesus again. / And it is when we see Him, that we will know Him fully. / And when we know Him fully, then (and only then) will we experience the joy that continues on, without end.
How we obtain worldly knowledge (knowledge about creation: about people and animals and all the details of this place), how we obtain worldly knowledge / is not all that different from how we obtain heavenly knowledge (that is, knowledge about the Kingdom of heaven).

If you want to know about the Grand Canyon, for example, / you can look at pictures in a book, or read about what other people have observed about it, / but your knowledge / will be incomplete / until you go there and experience it yourself. Then / (and only then) can you truly say you have a complete and full knowledge of the Grand Canyon; once you've seen it for yourself.

Sermon Easter 3.2013

St John 10.11-16 Miseracordias Domini/Good Shepherd Sunday
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.4.14

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Only God is good. Only the eternal, invisible, unapproachable God ' is good. Therefore good / was unapproachable, invisible. / Until / in Christ, God approached us, / so that, in Christ, we might know / and come in contact (encounter) That Which is truly Good.

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Well that's pretty dumb, isn't it? If the shepherd lays down his life, if He dies, / then the sheep are left alone. Wolves are out there; cliffs around every bend; and how will they know where the good pasture is, if their good shepherd has laid down his life and died? / Dying doesn't seem so / “good”.

Unless, of course, He takes His life back up again, He resurrects His life.

Sermon-Easter 2.2013

John 20.19-31 Quasimodogeniti (Easter 2)
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.4.7

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

You see here how the Holy Spirit is given to each according to what each needs. God is no glutton. He does all things well, / and in moderation. The Holy Supper, for example: it is Itself an eternal meal, and you Feasted on that eternal Meal just one week ago, (The Easter Feast at that) / yet, / because of your great need, you are here again. God certainly could have given you so much grace last week that you never hungered or thirsted again. But He didn't. He gave you what you asked for (your “daily bread”) and that grace was sufficient. So, He calls you back again this day.

Sermon-Easter Wednesday.2013

John 21.1-14
Easter Wednesday

The disciples of Jesus (Peter, James, John, Thomas, Nathaniel, and the rest) / they were not children. They were grown up. They were adults.

Then why does Jesus call them “Children”? It's kind of strange isn't it? It's strange, not only because the disciples aren't really children, / but it's also strange, because Jesus, who isn't a father, calls out to them on the boat as if He is their Father. “Children, did you catch any fish, yet?,” He says. He speaks to them in a familiar and commanding tone, just as any father would do with his own children. And He expects an answer. It is as if He sent them out there / and He wants them to report back to Him, how they are doing.

And here's another strange thing: / if someone who wasn't your father or your grandfather would call out to you, would you answer them like you would answer your father or grandfather? No. Right? You have a special relationship with your father and grandfather. / But the disciples DO answer back to Jesus in this way.

It is a mystery indeed. But it can be explained like this:

This story happened after Jesus had risen from the dead; after He had appeared to the disciples twice already. Now, before Jesus was crucified, He told His disciples about a special relationship that He had with God, the heavenly Father. He told them that God the Father sent Him to earth. And when the Father sent Jesus to earth, He also gave Jesus the words that He should say while He was here. He told them that when his disciples hear the voice of Jesus, they are really hearing the voice of the Father. That is why Jesus calls them “children,” / because Jesus is speaking for the heavenly Father. He was always speaking for the heavenly Father.

This is why the disciples answer Jesus like they are answering the Father, because they believe Jesus does speak the Father's word. And this is why they act so much like children when they realize that it is Jesus who is standing there on the shore, calling out to them.

Did you notice how childish they acted. Peter was so excited that he couldn't even wait for the boat to get to shore. He acted kind of like an excited little child waiting for his daddy to get home from work. When His daddy swings open the back, the child jumps up from whatever he is doing and screams, “Daddy” and runs over to him as fast as he can.

Peter jumped in the water, excited to see Jesus, because He believed Jesus is God. He wanted to embrace Him, to kiss Him, to tell Him all about his day.

And then, calmly, what does Jesus do? Well, just like any father does, He provides food for the children to eat. And He eats with them, too, showing them again that it really is Him, and that He really did rise from dead.

All is well. Jesus is with them. And because Jesus is with them, so is the Father.

And Jesus continued to be with them. The Apostles were the first pastors. When Jesus sent the first pastors out into the world, He told them this: “when the people hear you, they hear me.”

And Jesus is still sending pastors. Jesus' voice is still going out into all the world through pastors, all over the world, / even here / in this part of the world. Jesus even sends you pastors. And your pastors call out to you, “children, how is your work going? Are you catching fish, obeying your parents, doing your homework, and your chores?” But not only that. Your pastors also has been given the responsibility of providing food. And so he does. And he invites you to come and eat with him.

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sermon-EASTER Festival.2013

Mark 16.1-8 Easter Festival
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.3.31

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

Risen, indeed! But who is this Christ, anyhow?

Listen to the angel. He will tell us. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.” In case you missed it on Friday, the story goes that a young man about my age, a carpenter by trade, with a carpenter father and a virgin mother got Himself into a lot of trouble with the religious authorities.

The people loved him, at least at first, though they eventually turned on Him, too, when the going got tough. In fact, if the reports are true, apparently his own Father forsook Him. At least that's what He cried out from the cross.

Forsaken, abandoned, beaten, hung on a pole to die. Is that who we seek this morning? It's who the angel thinks we're seeking: a crucified Nazarene.

No, the Christ we seek is living. Perhaps the angel is just confused. Or / perhaps the angel is seeing things from a whole new perspective; a heavenly perspective. In heaven, as on earth, “Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

You see, there is no Resurrected Christ, without the crucified and dead Christ. You cannot fully appreciate the glory of the Resurrected Christ, until you've the seen the bitterness of the Crucified Christ.

Why? Because Christ isn't a spectacle to be gawked at. “Christ, the Lamb of God” is also “Christ, the Life of all the Living.”

We are not here to celebrate the memory of a great guy. We are not here to pat one another or ourselves on our religious or spiritual backs so that we can go on with life unburdened by our conscience. If Good Friday (and all of Lent, for that matter) has taught us anything, it has taught us how to die while we live.

A paradox and impossibility to the world and to the worldly-minded. But not to you. You live in this paradox as Christians, that is, with the mind of Christ, embracing the mysteries of eternity and holding on to them with all you have.

This is why you seek Jesus, the Crucified and Risen Lord, / because Christ matters to you; because you can't imagine life without Christ; because you know that there really is no life without Christ.

That is why you've come. That is who you seek. So let us not wait a minute longer. You have come to see Jesus, to be with Him this morning. Let it be done for you as you believe. / Let's eat.

In +Jesus' name. Amen.

Sermon-EASTER Vigil.2013

Easter Vigil (Joint-Parish Service)
preached at Trinity LC, Millersburg, IA

On this holiest of nights. Rejoice!

Beloved in the Lord, you have passed from Darkness into Light.

This is the message we have heard from [the Lord] and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 Jn 1.5) And this “is true in him and [even] in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.” (1 Jn 2.8) “For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4.6) “And God saw that the Light was good. And God separated the Light from the Darkness.” (Gen 1.4) For “what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Cor 6.14) This is what Jesus Himself said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” (Jn 12.46) In other words, “The light shines in the darkness, / but / the darkness has not overcome it,” (Jn 1.5) so that even “the people who walked in darkness have seen [this] great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has [this] Light shone.” (Is 9.2)

Dear friends, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand.” (Rom 13.12) Rejoice!
Or, perhaps you think that you are not part of these “enLightened ones”. That somehow God's Light, His gracious gift of Christ, has not or cannot shine in you. Perhaps you think you are so darkened by sin / or you are living in such evil darkness that no light, no matter how divine, can possibly penetrate it, and reach you.

O you of little faith, here the Word of the Lord, which David sung to the Lord when He experienced those same doubts:
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall
cover me,
    and the light about me / be night,” //
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Rejoice / all you doubters. Rejoice / all you sinners. Rejoice all you ignorant and wise alike. / Rejoice all you choirs of angels. Rejoice all you saints, you heavenly host.
Enter into the same House,
sing of the same grace.
Gather about the same altar,
worship the same King.

For this night / is no night. For this night is the holiest of nights in which the Light of the world came beaming out of the darkened tomb, shattering the three hour darkness, setting the captives free, damning the demons, and “entering once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption” (Heb 9.12) for all whom He has created.

Rejoice. He has created you. He has redeemed you. He has even come this holy night, to this holy place, to sanctify you wholly. Rejoice.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, / to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3.20-21)

Good Friday-Tenebrae.2013

Good Friday-Tenebrae
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA

It's black hole day.

Recall the story I told on Sunday about the September 11th airplane pilot, who saw where He was supposed to die, / but didn't. [*See Sermon below titled "Sermon-Palm Sunday.2013]

The crucifix above the altar kind of looks like a black hole tonight. You know what's behind there. You've seen it many times. You see it up close when you come and receive the Sacramental gifts in it's shadow. The image of the crucifix / represents the reality that you take into your own body.

So, in a way, you come up here to die. And that's really the whole point of Good Friday. The reason Good Friday remains so hard for us (though we know Jesus is already raised from the dead); the reason it is so hard for us sinners, is because we see in that crucifix / our own death.

Or to put it another way: “We go to Holy Week services as if we are going to our own death, / so that when we go to our own death, it is as if we are going to Holy Week services.”

And what a blessed perspective this is. For if you go to your death as if you are going to Holy Week, then there is really only one thing that's going to be on your mind when you die: the death of Jesus.

Good Friday-Tre Ore.2013

Good Friday—Tre Ore 2013.3.29
7th Word, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”
Delivered at St Paul's LC, Williamsburg, IA

The Spirit of the Son / is in the hands of the Father.

Father, into Thy hands I commit my Spirit.”

The Spirit of the Son // is in the hands of the Father.

Into the hands of the all-merciful God, the Son dares to put His Spirit.

What else does a man have? Naked a man comes to earth. So also with the Son of Man.

A man only has his body, his mind, and his spirit. These three / that's it. So also with the Son of Man.

As a man dies, we take his body and place into the ground, or, in the case of the Son of Man, into a tomb.

There, in the dust of the earth, a man's body begins to rot. It wastes away and the worms come and...well, you know.

As for his mind, in most cases, as you know from watching loved ones in their last hours, the mind slowly fades away. It doesn't rot away like the body does, rather it just fails.

What is left? The spirit. A man's spirit is the only thing that will really last.

Father, into Thy hands I commit my Spirit.”

Holy (Maundy) Thursday.2013

Maundy Thursday Exodus 12.1-14
2013.3.28 1 Cor 11.23-32
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA St John 13.1-15

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Feast of the Passover. For Israel, it was to be the beginning of months, the beginning of the yearly cycle, the beginning of their new life of freedom. They weren't going to be slaves anymore. God was going to do that. He would free them. He would give them this new life.

And like any new adventure, the first big hurtle to overcome is: “well, what now?” The prospect of new adventures is exciting and exhilarating; but can also be scary as you step out into the unknown.

Sermon--Holy Tuesday.2013

Holy Tuesday St John 12:44-50
Preached at Trinity LC, Millersburg, IA

John 12:44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

The Light of Christ's Words, shattered the darkness in the hearts and minds of those who heard Him that day.

After departing and hiding Himself from the crowd for a short while, / with what BOLDNESS does He come back onto the scene.

The whole world was going after Jesus; even some of the Jews were believing in Him, even many of the authorities, perhaps even Pontius Pilate himself. What a strange phenomenon. Was Jesus shocked by this? It would seem that they were actually on His side. So much for “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” They were receiving Him, even those who were supposed to reject Him the most. What now? Is this just a worldly kingdom teaser? Was this “believing” the work of God, or a temptation from Satan?

Whether Jesus was confused or not, we do know that He departed from the crowds for a while. Probably to pray. But whatever happened in that interim, the focus and depth of Jesus' next teaching / hits an absolute high point.

Sermon - Palm Sunday.2013

Palmarum (Palm Sunday)
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Here we are already. It's Palm Sunday, already. It seems like we just began Lent not too long ago and we're already at the beginning of Holy Week; the “home-stretch” of the Lenten season. Easter's so close we can almost taste it.

But not yet. Patience. There is yet some preparation to do. Jesus is leading us somewhere else first.
In Holy Week, / we are led to someplace / we'd rather not go. We're being led through Jesus' bitter suffering, to His bitter death. You, O disciple, / must also follow Him now, stay with Him even now, especially now, as His Passion (His suffering) / becomes most intense.

Remember, Lent symbolizes our own journey through this world. Luther once commented that the whole life of a Christian is a life of repentance. Jesus Himself preaches, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.” Your life in this world must be a life of repentance because it is a life filled with sin.

So, repent. And keep on repenting.

But you must know, repentance is not enough. Hear me rightly, repentance is good and necessary; Repentance gets rid of sin, because “when we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” And that is good and necessary, because sin is a problem for you; sin separates you from God; sin makes you insane, addicted, and unholy. But as terrible / and as problematic as sin is, / it is not the main problem. Death is the main problem.

Sermon - Anointing of Our Lord.2013

The Commemoration of The Anointing of Our Lord
2013.3.23 (Saturday before Palm Sunday)
Preached at Trinity LC, Millersburg, IA

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Quite a contrast. On the one hand, a generous act of love, of self-giving. That was Mary. On the other hand a selfish act of betrayal, of hate. That was Judas.

An act of love; an act of hate. Both acts done to our Lord. Our Lord receiving both. Our Lord suffering both.

Which one will win out? Acts of hate are powerful; they are intentional, deliberate, premeditated. / Acts of hate are well organized. And it takes a true enemy to accomplish, for acts of hate require the whole person. The heart must nurture enmity toward the victim, the soul and conscience must grow cold toward the victim and before God our Judge, / likewise, the mind must make the plans, and the body must carry out the actions.

Sermon-Lent Midweek Vespers 2013

Lenten Midweek 2013—Williamsburg Circuit, IDE
Pr Nicholas Huelsman, St John's, Victor
Preaching the Sixth Chief Part
Part Five: Beneficial Eating and Drinking!

[Read 1 Corinthians 11]

Parishoner: “I’m coming to communion today, Pastor.”
Pastor: Wonderful. Now tell me. What do you expect to receive with your mouth at the Sacrament?
Parishoner: “What do you mean, Pastor?”
Pastor: What is it that I will put in your mouth to eat and drink?
Parishoner: “Oh, I get it. Bread and wine.”
Pastor: Is that all?
Parishoner: “Of course. It’s just bread and wine.”
Pastor: But don’t you believe that you also receive Christ’s Body and Blood for the forgiveness of your sins?
Parishoner: “Are you kidding me. No way! It’s only bread and wine. There’s no body. And certainly no blood! I’m no cannibal, Pastor! And I don’t go for forgiveness! It’s just a memorial meal where I show I’m obedient to the Lord.”

To put it plainly, if a pastor would let someone like that go to the Sacrament, / this most holy gift would be like glass in his belly.

Sermon-Lent 5 (Judica).2013

St John 8.42-59
Judica (Lent 5)
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus could have made those stones into bread, you know. How foolish those despisers would have looked, throwing pieces of bread at Jesus. But He didn't. He let them have their sticks and stones. / Rather than miraculous self-defense, Jesus simply trusted in the Word of the Father which says, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Ps 18.2).

Jesus lived out the prayers of the Psalms. Jesus prayed as we just prayed in the Introit, “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For you are the God in whom I take refuge.”