Sermons

Pentecost 23A—1 Thessalonians 5:1–11

Christ our PeacePentecost 23A—November 16, 2014
1 Thessalonians 5:1–11
“CPS: Christ—Peace and Safety”
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bossier City, LA
AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

(1. Oops!: There’s no real source of peace and safety out there.)

Is there any real source of peace and safety in the world? Let’s be honest with ourselves as we consider this question. The world has all sorts of attempts at peace and safety: next eggs, bailouts, insurance, retirement accounts, government assistance. But let’s consider for ourselves, after all pagans will be pagans. What I mean by that is this: the world has a vested interest in such things because that’s the only peace and security they’ve got. But what about us. What sort of “peace and safety” do you look for in your life? Continue reading

Standard
Sermons

All Saints’ Day (Observed)—1 John 3:1–3

Aall-saints-picture-1511ll Saints’ Day (Observed)—November 2, 2014
1 John 3:1–3
“God’s Saintly Children”
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bossier City, LA
AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Are you a child of God? Would you consider yourself to be God’s child? It’s a pretty straightforward question, isn’t it? We’d all confess that we’re a child of God. We’d probably say so without any hesitation. Who doesn’t like singing, even though we didn’t sing it today, “Children of the heavenly Father Safely to His bosom gather; Nestling bird nor star in heaven Such a refuge e’er was given.” I think you’d all agree that it’s probably safe to say that all that’s true. But…what if I were to ask you, “Are you a saint?” Are you a saint of God?” Is that such a straightforward question for you? Can you or would you automatically, without hesitation, answer, “Yes.” I think we’d have trouble answering that way. We’d think that we’ve got a long way to go to get there. “I fall short of that,” we think. As if it’s a place or station we work for! But I’ve got news for you, repeat after me: “I’m a saint. I’m holy, spotless, and blameless before God. I’m God’s saint because of Jesus.”

All of that’s true because

IF GOD SAYS YOU’RE HIS CHILD, HIS SAINT, THEN THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE.

Continue reading

Standard
Sermons

Pentecost 15A—Philippians 1:12–14, 19–30

death and resurrection

The Law and The Gospel
Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1529

Pentecost 15A—September 21, 2014
Philippians 1:12–14, 19–30
“The Living Dead”
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bossier City, LA
AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

I don’t think that Philippians’s a book that’s considered that often. Well, you might get snippets or fragments every now and then: a verse or half verse here and there. Philippians isn’t a Romans, a Galatians, or even a 1 or 2 Corinthians. But Philippians is an important book in the life of Paul. You see Philippians is like Paul’s Swan Song. It’s one of his final books. While Galatians is arguably Paul’s first letter and one of the first books of the New Testament, Philippians is coming down to be one of, if not the last written Word from Paul. He’s been arrested. He’s in a Roman prison. All of this has happened because Paul kept on preaching the foolishness of the Gospel, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It’s not just because of the Gospel, but it even serves the Gospel: “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.”

Paul’s focus is on Christ Jesus alone, and, although it was written 1600 years later, Paul could’ve sung with us today: “Through Jesus’ blood and merit I am at peace with God. What, then, can daunt my spirit, However dark my road? My courage shall not fail me, For God is on my side; Though hell itself assail me, Its rage I may deride.” Paul’s focus is on Christ Jesus because He is the one who braved imprisonment, suffering, and death. But Christ wasn’t kept down by these things—well, He was, but for only three days—because Christ rose again from death, and for this reason Paul gives comforting words to us today:

TO LIVE IS CHRIST; TO DIE IS GAIN. Continue reading

Standard
Sermons

Pentecost 14A—Romans 14:1–12

crucifixPentecost 14A—September 14, 2014
Romans 14:1–12
“Love Bears All Things”
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bossier City, LA

INI + AMEN.

Paul has comforting words for us today. It doesn’t matter who you are, or whether you have strong faith or weak faith, whether you feel like your God’s child or not. It doesn’t matter what YOU feel at all. Paul binds up the weak knees here, and he strengthens even the strong and stouthearted. Whoever you are—it doesn’t matter: “God has welcomed you.” “He’s accepted you, received you. He sent His Son for you. Who not only died and was raised for you, but He makes sure His cross and empty tomb become yours. You “will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make [you] stand.” The Lord makes you stand, causes you to stand. No standing on your own—the Lord does it, and He does it at the baptismal font.  Continue reading

Standard
Sermons

Pentecost 12A—Matthew 16:21–28

Jesus Christ Crucified and Raised

Jesus Christ Crucified and Raised

Pentecost 12A—August 31, 2014
Matthew 16:21–28
“We All Need CPR”
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bossier City, LA
AUDIO (8:00)
AUDIO (10:30)

INI + AMEN.

CPR. It’s important. It save lives. It’s important for health professionals to be sure. When I was an RA (Resident Assistant) at the Seminary for a year—which was awesome because my room was free that year—but anyway, when I was an RA I had to be certified in CPR. Now, it wasn’t the first time I’d learned CPR. I wasn’t certified the first time—I don’t think—but I did learn it in Boy Scouts for one maybe two merit badges. When I learned it at the Sem, though, it was different. I always used to remember seeing and learning all sorts of steps. Start with this many compressions, this many breaths, then this many compressions, and do that for X amount of time, and repeat. Pretty complex, and it’s pretty easy to get lost. I’m not sure if that’s completely right, but I know it was more difficult than what I learned at the Sem, which, I guess, is the new standard. At the Sem I learned hands-only CPR. You only do compressions, and you do it to the rhythm of—get this—Stayin’ Alive, or maybe, Another One Bites the Dust. CPR’s that simple. We all know the step.

Last week we talked about Jesus who is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He’s the One who’s died and risen and whose forgiving Word conquers the devil’s kingdom. But is it really that simple? Is it just the one step? Is that where our focus should remain? Is it that one focus? Or is there something else? Well, we need to take our cue from Jesus. “From then on Jesus began to show openly to His disciples that it is necessary that He go up to Jerusalem, that He suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, be killed, and be raised on the third day.” Certainly Jesus had hinted at this before. Even His name does: “The angel said to Joseph, ‘You will call His name JESUS for He will save His people from their sins.’” Jesus said to the paralytic, “Be of good cheer, son. Your sins are forgiven.” Forgiveness only comes by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus also said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” But now even more openly he says this. His focus is on His cross, passion, and resurrection. His eyes are towards Jerusalem: towards cross, passion, and resurrection. If His focus is there, what shall ours be?

OUR FOCUS REMAINS, AS JESUS’ DOES, ON CROSS, PASSION, AND RESURRECTION JESUS.

Continue reading

Standard
Sermons

Pentecost 11A—Matthew 16:13–20

Confession of St. PeterPentecost 11A—August 24, 2014
Matthew 16:13–20
“Who’s the real Jesus?”
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bossier City, LA
AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, and here He was coming off the tails of such great miracles. He had fed 5,000 men—besides woman and children. He’d walked on the water, calmed a storm. He graciously cast out a demon from the Canaanite woman’s daughter. He had fed 4,000 more men—besides women and children. He healed “the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others.” This Jesus guy had fed thousands upon thousands, performed miracles, preached His Word and taught it “as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
Continue reading

Standard
Sermons

Pentecost 10A—Matthew 15:21–28

Canaanite Woman

Canaanite Woman’s Daughter Healed:
This story is taken from the New Testament (Matthew in the 15th chapter).

Pentecost 10A—August 17, 2014
Matthew 15:21–28
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bossier City, LA
AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

(1. Oops!: Jesus ignores the woman.)

We’ve all got a picture or image or idea of how Jesus is supposed to be, how He’s supposed to act, what He’s supposed to do. He’s supposed to be a loving Lord, a tender and gentle Shepherd, a gracious God, a Prince of peace, or whatever else we like to think Jesus is. We try to fit Him in whatever box or label, but then there’s a text like our Gospel reading. Jesus can’t be put into our boxes. He does what He wants. Goes where He wants. He won’t be placed in our boxes and won’t be bridled by what we think He should do. “He went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.”

We don’t want to remove the contours of a text or cut edges off Jesus so that He fits nicely and squarely where WE want Him to. We don’t sand and form to make and force the square peg into the round hole. We let Jesus be who He is. He does what He wants anyway, and part of that, I guess, as we’ll see here in just a bit, is ignoring people. Continue reading

Standard