Posts from the “Sermons” Category

Ash Wednesday 2018

Posted on February 14th, 2018

Memory is critical to survival. Remembering where you’ve been, how to navigate, which things are dangerous to eat – memory is very important. Other memories are painful. Abuse, rejection, sins – the memories haunt us, and we want to suppress them or forget them. But the memory of human origins is both the most painful and the most important memory to keep alive. It’s no surprise that creation and the nature of man are the most contentious issues of our day. If God made us, then there is a rule and purpose to our life that stands outside of us. If God made us, then He defines what is male and female, what is marriage, what is sin, what is life and death. That’s…

Sermo Dei: Sexagesima 2018

Posted on February 7th, 2018

Sexagesima 2 Corinthians 11:19—12:9 (Isaiah 55:10-13; Luke 8:4-15) February 4, 2018 It’s hard to believe the Gospel. It’s hard to believe that my sins are really absolved, removed, atoned for, forgiven, forgotten because of who Jesus is and what He did. There’s always something pulling us back, making us think that what we really need is the performance of certain actions, or the gift of money and time, to truly please God. Besides this, it’s human nature—fallen human nature—to assume that I need something besides Jesus for my life to be joyful and satisfying. Hence people are drawn to those who say they have the answers, from self-help authors to preachers who will give you the steps to your best life now. Preachers of…

Life Sunday Sermon 2018: The Glory of God Is a Living Man

Posted on January 26th, 2018

I was honored to preach for the LCMS Southern Illinois District’s service for Life Sunday, held on January 21 at Good Shepherd, Collinsville, IL. Thanks to Rev. Scott Adle and his charming family for hosting me, and Rev. Mark Surburg, District Life Coordinator, for inviting me. The audio of the sermon can be found here. Text: St. John 7:37-39 “God makes, man is made.” This statement seems so basic as to be absurd. “God makes, man is made.” Yet this statement overthrows all our pride, all our desires for authority and dominance.   Confess it: you want others to obey you. You want others to submit. You should be the star, you should be praised, you should control your own destiny.   But God…

Sermo Dei: Epiphany 1, 2018

Posted on January 7th, 2018

“Look,” says Mary, “Your father and I have sought you anxiously” (Luke 2:41-52, Gospel for Epiphany I). Many of you have experienced anxiety at some time or in some form. That Mary and Joseph knew anxiety is written for our comfort—to know we are not alone—and also for our instruction, to learn how to deal with anxiety. Anxiety is part of the world’s fallen condition. We experience anguish of spirit, mind, and body for all kinds of reasons. You can imagine the anxiety Mary and Joseph had, for much of parenthood is worrying about your children – and losing your little boy in a crowded city would terrify any parent. On top of this is the spiritual responsibility that Mary and Joseph have been…

Sermo Dei: Epiphany

Posted on January 7th, 2018

After describing the long, arduous trip that the Wise Men undertook,  T.S. Eliot says in his great poem The Journey of the Magi, A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly. Folly – the world’s voices sang in the ears of the Magi, “Your journey to worship the Christ-Child:  it is all folly!  Worthless; meaningless; foolishness.  Who would waste his time on such matters?” The world says that to you as well. Folly! None of this is true. You are wasting your life. Even if it is true – there’s no need to upend your life. A long journey, a…

Wedding Sermon: Grace Link and Andrew Egger

Posted on January 7th, 2018

The Marriage of Grace Link and Andrew Egger December 30, 2017 John 2:1-11 “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee.” Every word in Holy Scripture is significant. And there’s more going on than meets the eye. “On the third day there was a wedding,” just like on the third day He rose again from the dead. Rising from the dead is the shape of marriage, because marriage is a kind of death. At some level our groom already understands this, as he reflected on these solemnities via Twitter: “super excited to get married this weekend and enter once and for all into adulthood,” I say to myself as I spot a gobstopper on the floor of my car and…

Reformation500 Sermon

Posted on October 31st, 2017

The Five-hundredth Anniversary of the Reformation When your baby boy bonks his head, what matters? When your husband lies dead, what matters? When you sit with Job on a dung-heap, children gone, possessions gone, sores covering your stinking body, what matters? Job’s own answer, through a long struggle of pain and torment, was this: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He shall stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” The Redeemer is Jesus. Jesus is what matters when you hold tightly to your sick child. Jesus is what matters when the coffin of your father descends into the earth. Jesus is what matters when your own life…

Sermo Dei: Fleming/Nuttelman Wedding

Posted on July 22nd, 2017

The Marriage of Amy Fleming to Christopher Nuttelman  St. John 20:10-18 + The Eve of St. Mary Magdalene + Our Savior Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan She is not wrong, Mary Magdalene. She sees a Man standing upon the earth. She supposes Him to be the gardener. She is not wrong. He is. The first man was designed to be the gardener – to rule on earth as God’s steward. From his side came forth the woman, bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. She would garden with her man, as co-regent. They received a divine call – to be fruitful and multiply, and so become participants with God in the ongoing act of creation. They received a divine call – to be…

Sermo Dei: Psalm 125

Posted on July 22nd, 2017

Psalm 125 + Evening Prayer + July 19, 2017 What shapes your mind? What influences your thinking? What rules your heart? Tonight’s Psalm expresses both confidence in God and a warning to Israel at a time when they were shaped, influenced, and ruled by a foreign power. “The scepter of wickedness,” i.e., the rule of evil people, is upon Israel. And in this terrible situation, “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion” – they cannot be shaken, they will remain loyal to God, no matter how bad things get. “But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the LORD will lead away with evildoers!” The greatest threat from the occupiers is not death, or torture, or slavery, or the theft…

Presentation of the Augsburg Confession

Posted on June 25th, 2017

Sermon for the Commemoration of the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession June 25, 2017 Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Virginia “Jesus Christ is Lord.” Before there was an Apostles’ Creed, or Nicene, or Athanasian – before any of the great councils, before any catechism – before the New Testament itself was gathered together from the writings of the earliest disciples of Jesus – before all of this was the most important confession upon which all other confessions are built: “Jesus Christ is Lord.” “Jesus Christ is Lord” is the original confession of the Church. To understand what this means is the subject of all true Christian study; to confess with all your heart, soul, strength and mind Jesus Christ is Lord is the source of…