Sermons

Judica—Lent 5 (Gen 22:1–14; Heb 9:11–15; Jn 8:46–59)

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

((5. Oops!: God’s plan for Abraham is ridiculous, seems evil.))

INI + AMEN.

“How could this be the plan? Who’d make a plan like this? Who’d even do it!? It’s questionable at best. Really looking at it, it’s ridiculous, insane. You could almost say its demonic! That’s really the sort of plan it is. Is there another way to explain it?”

“What sort of God sets up a plan like this? Is such a God even worthy of believing in? Surely, there’s better, kinder gods out there! In fact, with a plan like this why believe in a god at all? He doesn’t just allow evil, pain, and sorrow. He even plans it!”

“How could He say this to me?” “Take your son, your only son, the one you love, Isaac, go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on the mountain I tell you.” “What kind of test is that? More like a trial…”

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Sermons

Oculi—Lent 3 (Ps 25; Ex 3; Lk 11)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || [AUDIO](https://app.box.com/s/exxsyj1nr0qvmy6vj9fclxtrgl6onzpz)
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || [AUDIO](https://app.box.com/s/fre3i3c2mp99tkyydbpsk4uc73l9thg4)

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord because He takes My feet out of the net.” (Ps 25:15)

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: We’re surrounded by trouble and distress.))

We’re surrounded by trouble and distress. That’s life, isn’t it? Life’s hard. It’s not easy at all. You’ve got to control it, or it will control you. Life never stops. It’s always moving, and sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad, though—real bad! It’s tough. We get beat down, dragged down, stressed out. We survive. We worry.

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Sermons

Invocabit—Lent 1 (Gen 3:1–21; Mt 4:1–11)

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

INI + AMEN.

The Lord gives His Word. He speaks. His Word isn’t off somewhere, in some unknown place, so that you’re left wondering where He is, where His Word is. If He gives His Word, He wants it received, wants it heard, and so He puts His Word somewhere. Continue reading

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Sermons

Ash Wednesday (2 Pt 1:2–11)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

“[Jesus’] divine power has gifted us everything for life and godliness.”

INI + AMEN.

Everything gifted? Yes, everything. All means all. Everything means everything. Nothing left out. All gift. Everything’s gift. Everything for life. Everything for godliness. Jesus gives. We receive. “Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, love.” All these are a gift from the Lord. He gifts everything for life and godliness.

This doesn’t quite jive with our views of Lent and repentance and even absolution. We turn Lent into our time to shine. “Fasting…is certainly fine outward training.” Our flesh shouldn’t be in control. Like Paul said a few weeks ago, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” We turn our repentance into the credit that earns the absolution.

We live day to day fulfilling our own desires. We aren’t disciplined. Well, we have worldly discipline. We go to work, do our chores, do our homework. But that’s not what Jesus supplies or gifts to us. Or we’ll use our godliness as a way of comparing ourselves to others.

In the face of all this, in the face of our desires, our selfishness, our puffing ourselves up, our doing of Lent, Peter says, “That’s not how any of this works.” Peter says, “[Jesus’] divine power has gifted us everything for life and godliness.” If you have life and godliness, then it’s a gift you received from Jesus. If you don’t, you’ve rejected the gift.

This is Lent and your Christian life, too:

JESUS GIFTS US EVERYTHING FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS. Continue reading

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Sermons

Good Friday—Tenebrae (Jn 19:1–42)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Lift up your eyes and see the salvation of God. The Lord God from heaven above with a mighty hand and outstretched arms has saved His people, all people. “My eyes look up to the hills,” from there, from above our help and salvation come. As Jesus says, “You are from beneath; I am from above.” Salvation isn’t just “from above;” it is above! That’s today. Salvation was up. Jesus, your Savior was up: on a hill, lifted up, crucified, “from aboved.” Good Friday is good because of that. Yeah,

JESUS IS “FROM ABOVED” THAT YOU WOULD BE BORN FROM ABOVE. Continue reading

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Sermons

Good Friday—Chief Service (2 Cor 5:14–21)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN

So many things comes together at the place of the skull. In Jesus cross things that are opposites are joined together. Jesus’ cross being like one giant addition symbol. We rejoice in this joining. This divine plus sign means our eternal salvation. It’s what makes today Good Friday.

So, what sort of things are joined at Jesus’ cross? Well, for starters, God’s justice and His mercy. Sin must be paid for, justice served. God’s justice demands this. He is also merciful and gracious, and He pardons iniquity, transgression, and sin. So often people want to pit these two things against each other. But in one divine action, Jesus’ death for sinners, God’s justice and mercy meet.

Our Epistle points us to two other things that are joined at the cross. Sin and righteousness. For your salvation they’re united at the cross in Jesus, in His flesh and blood. How are they joined? Well,

JESUS WAS YOUR SIN, AND, IN HIM, YOU ARE GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS. Continue reading

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Sermons

Holy (Maundy) Thursday (1 Cor 11:23–32; Jn 13:1–15, 34–35)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

How do you gauge God’s love for you? We think all sorts of things about how you know that God loves you. If your life is generally pretty good, if you are generally pretty good (healthy or whatever), if you’re generally a nice person—in all these sorts of ways we figure out if God loves us and how much He loves us.

But what about experiencing God’s love? How would you go about doing that? We want to feel something. As if love is simply a feeling. (That’s what we think today.) Don’t get me wrong: if you feel something (joy, sadness, anything in between), that’s okay as far is it goes. But it’s not a sign of God’s love for you, nor is it a sign of how weak or strong your faith is.

“God is love:” each person of the Trinity putting the other two first. Anyway, experiencing that—God’s love: how? Well, we look inside ourselves. We meditate on whatever (Jesus, His death, His resurrection, whatever blessings we’ve received), and by our meditation, our works, our spirituality we try to drum up some sort of feeling because, we think that’s the sign of true faith.

We boil it all down to feelings: a quiver in the liver, a lump in the throat, a glistening of the eye. God’s love, Jesus’ love is something far different than all that, it’s more concrete. Faith is same way too, too. Continue reading

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