Not ideal! Easter 2 Sermon, 2018, Acts 4:32- 5:11

Although the notion of community is popular, very few people are interested in actual community, only idealized community. The Bible paints a picture of the church that is far from ideal. The resurrection community exists, not to be an ideal community,  with an ideal social arrangement, but to proclaim that Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, continues to abide as Savior in un-ideal circumstances, with un-ideal people who behave un-ideally.  Our vocation as Christians is to joyfully and patiently abide where our Savior abides.

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Worshipping and doubting — Easter Sunday sermon 2018

The scripture witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection by including all its conflicts, tensions and ambivalence without any explanation or apology. It just preaches what happened and reports the responses — nothing tidy or flattering. The most consistent response is ambivalence, summed up in the words “worshipping and doubting.” We want to keep the worship part is get rid of the doubt part, following Jesus’ words to Thomas, “Do not doubt, but believe.” We want to say along with Thomas, “My Lord and my God.” John 20:27-28   

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God applies the passion story to you, for your salvation: Sermon for Palm-Passion Sunday 2018, Mark 14-15

It is unbelievable that God applies the story of Christ’s passion to you and your life, but that is indeed the Gospel.

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“Sir, we wish to see Jesus!” Sermon for Lent 5 2018, John 12:20-33

After 11 chapters of building anticipation, Jesus’ hour finally arrived. It happened when Gentiles came to Phillip and said, “Sir we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:20-23) They were speaking for the whole world whether the world knows it or not. The world wants to see Jesus because seeing Jesus means knowing, in the most profound sense, what he has done: offered himself for the life of the world, offered himself for you.

Do You Want to Become Jesus’ Follower? Lent 2 sermon 2018, Mark 8:31-38

Satan has no time for losers. It is God’s nature to embrace even losers. We are more like Satan. That’s why Peter speaks for all of us when he tries to set Jesus straight. Jesus embraces losers and becomes a loser. If you want to become a follower of Jesus, if you want Christ to be formed in you, it entails a willingness to embrace losers and become a loser. 

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Suffering is participation in God’s Life. Lent 1 sermon, 2018, 1 Peter 3:18

Christ’s vicarious, innocent suffering for us offered to God is how Christ brings us to God, as 1 Peter 3:18 says. This happens concretely. Christ not only suffers with us & for us, but he also mixes our suffering together with his. This is our participation in the Life of God. This is our Baptism in action in daily life. Christ sanctifies your mundane suffering because Christ himself is being formed in you.   

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God’s 2 words (do not try to alleviate the threat!)  Ash Wednesday Sermon 2018, Joel 2;1-17

The prophet Joel exemplifies how God always uses 2 words preached together to break us out of ourselves and to bring us to God’s mercy: A word of dreadful threat and a word of beautiful promise. They go together, so do not try to alleviate the threat! Let the threat stand just as God intends it!

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If the Gospel is truly such good, compelling news, why do some NOT find the Gospel compelling? Sermon for Transfiguration 2018, 2 Corinthians 4;3-6

If the Gospel is truly such good, compelling news, — why do some-, in fact, most — NOT find the Gospel compelling?

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Is God incompetent or uncaring? Sermon for Epiphany 5, Isaiah 40:21-31

Isaiah speaks with biting incredulity to God’s people when they question God’s competence or God’s concern for them and for justice.  Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?” Isaiah 40:21 Isaiah directs their attention to the only thing the Bible is concerned about: their theology, which is to say, God’s Word. God’s Word is the only comfort for God’s people. We should not seek our comfort in sociology, politics, economics, philosophy or morality. These things are more or less in human control, but there is no help there. Only in God’s Word, which we have in Jesus Christ. 

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