A Lenten Devotion – “Gluttony”

A few Lenten seasons ago, a colleague and friend of mine did a Bible study series entitled “The Seven Deadly Sins and How to Commit Them.” I don’t plan to use that approach in our Wednesday evening gatherings, but the topic of the “seven deadly sins” does serve as a good penitential topic for this penitential season. And since we have only five weeks to cover them, we might call this “Five of the Seven Deadly Sins” or perhaps, with a little doubling up, we can cover all seven.
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A Lenten Devotion – “Sloth”

Last week’s deadly sin was “gluttony.” Tonight’s is sloth, or in the Latin, acedia. “Sloth” is really a misnomer, as the animal by the same name may be slow, but it is anything but lazy. Sloth is physical laziness, spiritual laziness, indifference, boredom, apathy, couch potato-ness. It is a sin of omission, a failure of vocation, a failure of duty and responsibility, a failure to exercise the gifts from God in service of God and neighbor.
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A Lenten Devotion – “Greed”

Greed is idolatry. The Scriptures could not be more plain. Greed is not an action but an orientation. It goes the the idolatrous heart that is unbuckled from the fear, love, and trust in God above all things. Greed is the fear, love, and trust in all things above God. Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other, serve one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.” St. Paul said, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Not money, the love of money. Money-love.
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A Lenten Devotion – “Wrath”

Wrath is a reflex action of old Adam. Don’t get mad, get even. Get your “pound of flesh.” “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life.” You can even quote the Bible on that and justify yourself with it. If your enemy strikes you on the cheek, punch him in the nose. It’s the law of the jungle. Survival of the fittest. The world of tooth and claw and blood.
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1 Corinthians 12:12-31 / 24 January 2016

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. – 1 Cor 12:27

When you think of the word “church” or “congregation,” what image comes to mind? What word would you use? What analogy best describes it?

The word congregation is the same as the word “synagogue,” much like the synagogue at Nazareth where Jesus preached to the home town folks. A synagogue was a gathering of people around the Word of God, the Torah and prophets. Jesus preached from an assigned text of Isaiah. The people came together at a synagogue to hear the Word and its exposition, to sing praises to God, and to pray together. Much like what we do here.
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Bach Cantata Vespers – Romans 8

Preached at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Orange, CA 28 February 2016

Rom. 8:1   There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
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Luke 4:1-13 / 14 February 2016

In Nomine Iesu

“Lead us not into temptation” we pray. Jesus taught us to pray this way, and we do every time we say the Lord’s Prayer. Guard and protect us from every temptation of the devil, the world, and our own sinful selves. Yet today, in this morning’s reading, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, fresh from His baptism in the Jordan, was led by the Spirit (“driven” Mark says!) into the wilderness to be tempted. Jesus was led into temptation so that you might not be led into temptation.
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An Epiphany Devotion / 10 January 2016

Preached at St. John Lutheran Church – Orange. 10 January 2016. Bach Choral Vespers.

Wise men came from the East to worship Him. His first worshippers were Bethlehem’s shepherds. Now it is Babylon’s astrologers who have come to see and worship. Jesus is Lord and Savior of all. A light to give light the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel.
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Reformation 2015

“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent” (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

With that thesis, the first of 95, a 34 year old Augustinian friar, priest, professor of theology at Wittenberg University named Martin Luther sparked what came to be called the Reformation of the western catholic church, one of the most significant moments in the history of the church. The issue at hand was indulgences, papal letters granting parole from purgatory at a price, backed by the saints’ treasury of merit. It was a brilliant fund raiser. It literally built St. Peter’s in Rome and lined the treasure of the papacy. And it was also an insult and affront to Christ and His blood shed for the world.
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