Sermons

Baptism of Jesus—Observed (Mt 3:13–17)

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

INI + AMEN.

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John to be baptized by him.” That didn’t sit well with John. (Maybe you’re confused, too!) We all know what John was about: blasting away at sinners with God’s judgment. Then Jesus shows up and acts like a sinner, just like us. What John had been doing didn’t fit with Jesus coming to sinners’ Baptism. John protested. He should’ve gone to Jesus for Baptism, not Jesus to John. So we and John think that Jesus must stay separate, and sinners must move to Him, by their doing, their repentance. He shouldn’t come and be a sinner with us. Continue reading

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Sermons

Epiphany of our Lord—Observed (Mt 2:1–12)

Epiphany of our Lord—Observed (Mt 2:1–12)

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

INI + AMEN.

The prophet said, “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” That little point of light started Epiphany, and it brought the odd characters of the Magi to the toddler Jesus. Where’d they come from? No one knows. But these Gentiles, foreigners, outsiders were asking for the King of the Jews. Herod? No, not Herod. Quite troubling, indeed! We all know what he did…

The Lord promised where the Messiah, the Christ would be born. No star would tell that. These astrologer Magi needed more Word of God. They got it, and off they go to Bethlehem. They fell down and worshipped Him, gave Him their best. Then off to parts unknown. They had their 15 minutes of fame, and that’s it. No more Magi. Were they lost? No. The Magi were His men, His loyal subjects. It’s why they came: “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star…and have come to worship him.” Continue reading

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Sermons

Transfiguration (Mt 17:1–9)

February 5, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Transfiguration’s a big deal, but not in a way you might think. That’s our problem. We get caught up in glory clouds, in bright shining faces, in power, in thunderous voices from heaven. That’s Old Adam, though. Our flesh likes that sort of thing. We’re naturally attracted to power. It’s what’s Old Adam understands. At our core, it’s pretty much the one thing we understand naturally.

It’s what we want. We want power. We tend to think: the world would just be perfect if I were running it. The only thing that keeps our ambitions in check is someone with more smarts, more money, more popularity, more connections, or whatever. But it’s all power.

So we take that understanding of power, and we apply that to JESUS and God. Transfiguration seems to play right into that, but the glory of the Transfiguration isn’t the point. JESUS knows that. That’s what He says! “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.” If that sort glory were the point, He wouldn’t have said, “Don’t tell anyone.” He wouldn’t’ve cared if they said anything. Why does JESUS say this? He says it because

JESUS’ TRUE GLORY IS HIS CROSS AND EMPTY TOMB. Continue reading

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Sermons

Epiphany 4 (Mt 8:23–27)

January 29, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Who Jesus is and what He did are two very important questions. As disciples of Jesus, followers of Him, we understand how important those two questions are—not only for us, but all people. To be a disciple of Jesus means to be baptized and have trust in Him. To have faith in Jesus means more than just being a good person. Way too many people think that’s what Christianity is all about: being nice, good people that God will bless for being nice, good people. Christianity’s not about being good, doing good. It’s more than that. Faith is receiving from Jesus, living from Jesus, striving to be around Jesus. That’s the cycle of faith: being around Jesus to receive from Him and live from Him. Continue reading

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Sermons

Epiphany 3 (Mt 8:1–13)

January 22, 2017
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

I know you trust JESUS. You do. Then you’ve got your doubts. Whether it’s stuff in your own life, the lives of those you love, or just the general unpleasantness of the world that we sometimes have to endure, that stuff makes us doubt JESUS’ love for us, makes us doubt how our heavenly Father feels about us, and maybe even makes us question the truth of our faith. But I’ve got news for you, dear friends. When up is down and down is left, when the rocky turns stormy, when the storms gather, there is something—or rather someone—who is Way, who is Peace, who is the Light for your path: Jesus. He’s the Truth in the midst of uncertainty.

But I want you to know something else. Those things are certainly true, but there a bit abstract, not tangible. JESUS is more than just Truth. He’s trustworthy. You can put your trust in Him. He won’t let you down—not in the end. He’s your Savior. The Savior of all. In all times, but especially in hard times, He’s someone you can trust, have faith in.

JESUS IS A TRUSTWORTHY SAVIOR FOR ALL. Continue reading

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Sermons

Epiphany 2 (Jn 2:1–11)

INI + AMEN.

What’s normal and natural? Water that becomes wine. “That’s not natural,” we think. We call that a miracle. There’s supposedly Laws against such things. Water is water, and wine is wine. And after Jesus turned 120–130 gallons of water into wine, they might’ve implemented the first blue laws in Cana of Galilee! There’s all sorts of laws for all sorts of times. Purification laws. Cultural laws—like running out of wine at a wedding is severely embarrassing for a new groom and bride! There’s God’s Law. The rules and laws we make for ourselves. All sorts of law, but in spite of such laws, breaking through them all, Jesus turns water into wine. He supplies for the wedding fest. It’s natural for Him to do so, and when He does, He gives the best.

JESUS ALWAYS GIVES THE BEST WINE FOR HIS BRIDE. Continue reading

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