1 Timothy 1:12-17 /11 September 2016

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

When it comes to the lost, the Lord never gives up. The lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son, you, lost in Sin and Death. He never gives up. He came to seek and to save the lost. He came into the world to save sinners. Not His friends but His enemies. Not saints but sinners. It’s called “grace,” kindness undeserved and unmerited. “Love to the loveless shown.”
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Luke 16:19-31

This morning’s parable from Jesus sounds like more on money, the evils of riches, and concern for the poor, but it actually isn’t. It’s actually about faith and the Word. Rich and poor are incidentals. Important incidentals but incidentals nonetheless.

There was a rich man and there was a poor man. It doesn’t get more binary than that, does it? The poor man was named Lazarus, the same as Jesus’ good friend from Bethany, the brother of Mary and Martha. Jesus’ friend was not a poor beggar. He owned a home and lived with his sisters. The Lazarus in this story was poor and begged in the streets. We don’t know the name of the rich man, which is kind of strange. The Lord who knows and calls us by name doesn’t give the rich man a name. He’s a kind of generic, faceless stand-in. One who would knock on the Lord’s banquet door only to hear, “I don’t know you. Name’s not on the list. What’s the name again?” In the town, everyone knew the rich man’s name and probably very few knew Lazarus’ name. Not so with the Lord.
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1 Timothy 1:12-17 / 11 September 2016

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

When it comes to the lost, the Lord never gives up. The lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son, you, lost in Sin and Death. He never gives up. He came to seek and to save the lost. He came into the world to save sinners. Not His friends but His enemies. Not saints but sinners. It’s called “grace,” kindness undeserved and unmerited. “Love to the loveless shown.”
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Luke 8:26-39 / 19 June 2016

Jesus arrived by boat in the region of the Gerasenes, opposite Galilee. Gentile country. Outsiders to Israel. He came to seek and to save the lost, even if the lost were not the lost of Israel. His greeting party was a naked man who was possessed by a literal “legion” of demons. He was homeless. He lived in the caves where the tombs were. The townspeople had seized him and put him in shackles, but he broke them and fled to the wilderness. He came to greet Jesus.
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Luke 7:36-50 / 12 June 2016

Forgiveness and love go together. The one who is forgiven much, loves much. The one who is forgiven little, loves little. So it stands to reason that it would be to our advantage to be in the maximum forgiveness receiving place so that we might love much. It also stands to reason that the reason we may not love as much as we could or should is that we don’t realize how forgiven we are. Of course, that would require a good hard look at our Sin, and we all know that it’s easier to look at the sin of others than it is our own.
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Luke 7:11-17 / 5 June 2016

The younger the person, the greater the crowd at the funeral. It’s almost a hard and fast rule. When the young die, there is a heightened sense of outrage and grief. There is no “life well lived,” no litany of life achievements, no triumphal obituaries, no sense of “mission accomplished” at the end of a long life or “I did it my way” swagger. There is only a sense of tragedy, hopelessness, despair, unfairness. Where was God to help? Why did God let this happen? When the young person is the only son of a widowed mother, the tragedy is squared. He was her only son, the joy of her life, all that she had left, her only source of support. And now he was dead and she had to do what no mother wants to do. Bury her child. The grief was as great as the crowd that had gathered.
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John 20:19-31 / 2 Easter 2016

We call him “doubting Thomas,” don’t we, even though the text we just heard from John’s gospel never used the word “doubt.” It’s one of those many cases of our reading into the Scripture something that isn’t there. No one, including Jesus, said that Thomas doubted. Doubt wasn’t Thomas’ problem. Unbelief was. You might say Thomas let his doubts get in the way of his faith, and that was the problem. And so Jesus doesn’t say, “Thomas, stop doubting.” He says, “Thomas stop disbelieving and believe.” There is a difference.
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Easter Sunday 2016 / 1 Corinthians 15:20

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

Today is Easter Sunday, the Sunday of the Resurrection. You already know that, because you’re here. This is the day when we, together with all Christians, proclaim to one another and to the world that Jesus Christ who was crucified for the sin of the world rose bodily from the dead. It is NOT, as you sometimes hear, the “day Christians celebrate their belief that Jesus rose from the dead.” The resurrection of Jesus, His empty tomb, the eyewitness appearances, are not matters of faith. They are matters of fact. The fact is that Christ rose from the dead. The faith is that as in Adam all die so in Christ will all be made alive. That is a matter of faith. But the resurrected body of Jesus is a matter of fact.
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Good Friday 2016

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53

It would be easy and tempting for us to gawk at those wounds like so many looky-loos rubbernecking past an accident on the side of the road. You don’t want to look and yet you do. Morbid curiosity. Gratefully, the evangelists all spared us the graphic details of Jesus’ crucifixion. What matter is that He was crucified. The details of which need not be brought to light, as they were in the film “The Passion of the Christ.” It’s not the “what” of those wounds that matter. We are not here for a medical diagnosis. It’s the “why” of these wound that matter. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our inquity. Continue reading

Holy Thursday 2016

“Do this in remembrance of me,” and in remembrance of me, do this.

Tonight is about remembrance. Remembrance in the Scriptures is more than calling to mind or thinking about something in the past. Remembrance is being a part of something that happened before you came along. The Passover was a remembrance meal, a meal in which Israel not only remembered what God had done in freeing them from slavery in Egypt but also a participation in the Exodus. It was not simply the night when God freed our forefathers, it was a night when God freed us. We weren’t there, but in the Passover, the Exodus becomes ours and we become part of it. Continue reading