Sermons

Trinity 16 (Lk 7:11–17)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: The widow has grief upon grief.))

The sadness of it all. The grief. The anguish. It’s not supposed to be this way—not ever! It’s horrific, tragic. “A dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow.” Who can really imagine her grief? She’s got grief upon grief. Her husband’s dead, and now her only son is, too. Death. Endless grief.

Who would’ve been absent? Probably not many. A large portion of Nain mourned with her. Everything brought to a standstill by the grief and tragedy of this woman’s life. But they’d move on. They’d pay their respects to her, to her son, just like they did with her husband, I’m sure. But in a day or two, there’d be other news, other things to do. But not for her.

Who’d care for her now? A hard life awaited her. No insurance. A childless widow would only have what Yahweh promised through Moses: “When you reap your harvest…and forget a sheaf in the field, don’t go back to get it. When you beat your olive trees, don’t go over them again. When you gather your grapes, don’t strip [the vine] afterward.” A lifetime of gleanings, leftovers for this widow’s grief upon grief. Continue reading

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Sermons

Winkel—Holy Cross Observed (1 Cor 1:18–25; Jn 12:20–33)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

We’re all a bunch of fools! We’re morons! Can you think of anything more ridiculous than what we do? There isn’t much, according to the “wisdom of the world.” Those who are high and lofty, those who are wise, those who are strong, those who are something, want to be something, can be something may grant some foolishness—foolishness for the sake of entertainment. Society needs people who make life not so serious, after all. Comedians, actors, entertainers, magicians, circus ringmasters. Funny. Not fools.

But we—we are bunch of fools! We really are! Not because of us, but because of Him. Because we preach—preach Him. But not just Him. What He did. “We preach Christ crucified, which is scandal to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but Christ, God’s power and wisdom, to those who are called (whether Jew or Greek).” Christ is “God’s power and wisdom” because Christ “is God over all, blessed forever.” The eternally blessed God, the Creator of the universe “for us and our salvation came down from heaven,” and “was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.” Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 15 (Mt 6:24–34)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Where there’s a kingdom, there’s a king. If there’s a king, then there’s a kingdom. And there is a kingdom. Well, two. Jesus talks about them today. We don’t have much use for kings, though. They cramp our style. Our American sensibilities reject kings. Even the idea of kings is foreign to us. The idea that someone else has control over us instead of us, is well, offensive.

There’s the true Kingdom, with the True King. There’s also a false kingdom, with a king that has no lasting power. You’re either in one kingdom or the other. You can’t be in both kingdoms. You can’t have two kings. There’s no dual citizenship. You’re either under king nothing, or you’re ruled by the one true King. And we don’t like that at all.

We want it both ways—two kings, two kingdoms. We fool ourselves into thinking that’s how kingdoms work. That you can choose this, choose that. We make everything about personal choice, personal agency, personal preferences. I like this, don’t like that. But you’re not king. You’re not! As a citizen, you’re either ruled by one king or the other. As a servant, you’ve only got one master. It’s not possible to have two. If you think you can, well, then you need to take that up with Jesus. He says, “No one can serve two masters.” Anything else is unbelieving foolishness. Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 14 (Lk 17:11–19)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Ah, yes. The 10 Lepers. Now, this text is a bit special. It comes up twice a year. You heard it today, and you’ll hear it in November. It’s also the Gospel lesson for Thanksgiving. Now, whether you hear it now or in about a couple months from now, there’s a nagging question, or, at least, there should be. Whether you knew it or not, we’re left with a question, a problem, really. What sort of text is this? What’s it all about?

There’s only one place to get an answer for that. There’s no room for “this is what it means to me” and “that’s what it means for you” here. That way of handling the Scriptures is no good. In fact, any sort of “that’s your interpretation” talk makes not only this text but every text of Scripture meaningless. You either rest on what the Lord Himself and His author say, or you don’t. It’s either our text or the Lord’s text. And between us and our Lord, there’s only One “Way, Truth, and Life.” Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 13 (Lk 10:23–37)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Driven. The Prophets and Kings of the Old Testament were. Not just to preach. Not just to rule. No, more than that. They desired, they were driven “to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

Driven. The Lawyer certainly was. Not to receive the Gift of God’s Word. Not to deliver the Good News. No, he was driven to “put Jesus to the test.” Why? Because he desired, he was driven “to justify himself,” to make himself right with God, to make himself forgiven.

Driven. Jesus was. Certainly was. He wasn’t just driven by the Spirit, like He was at His temptation. Jesus Himself was “destined, dedicated,” desired even, was “willing” to do all that He did, “to do His work, and [meet] His death.” Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 12 (Mk 7:31–37)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS
Mission Fest 2018 || AUDIO

Rev. Duane Bamsch
Zion Lutheran Church, Terra Bella, CA
Vice President Higher Things

INI + AMEN.

He wants to speak but he can’t. He doesn’t know how to make the words, because he doesn’t know how they sound. Because he can’t hear. 

He tries anyway, but it all get jumbled up and hung up in his mouth. It just doesn’t work.

It means that, even in the middle of a crowd and at the dinner table, he’s isolated and alone. His family and friends know this, but there’s nothing they can do. 

Until they hear about Jesus. He’s supposed to be able to heal. He’s supposed to be able to do the miraculous. Maybe he can do something. Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 11 (Lk 18:9–14)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: When you stand before God, there’s no other sinner but you.))

“God be merciful to me, the sinner.”

“God be merciful to me, the sinner.”

Look down, beat your breast, and say it with me, “God be merciful to me, the sinner.”

Not “a” sinner, one among many. No, the Tax Collector in our parable says that he’s the only one. From the Tax Collector’s godly perspective, he is all that counts. The Lord looks at him and him alone, and what does the Lord find? The only sinner there is. Everyone is better than him, more godly than him, more righteous than him because they are good, godly, and righteous—he is not.

So also you. That’s who you are before God. When you stand before the Lord’s judgment seat, there is no one else. There is no class action lawsuit. There’s only you. There is no other sinner but you. Continue reading

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