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Come and See and Share

Here are some thoughts on this coming Sunday's gospel reading that were sent to the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. I would like your input. What do you see and hear?

John 1:29-42a 29 The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ 32And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’ 35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclai…
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This is the message I shared with the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel reading is Matthew 3:13-17.
It has often been said, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” How oft
What do you think about this passage? This was shared with the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. What is God saying to you through it?

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Three basic things happen in this short telling of Jesus’ baptism: he is baptized by John, touched by the Spirit and publicly identified as God’s Son. Why was Jesus baptized after all? He certainly did not need to have his sins washed away as others did b…

Follow the Star

This is the sermon I preached last Sunday, 1/5 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel text was Matthew 2:1-12. 

What in the world is Epiphany and why do we celebrate it? Epiphany means "showing forth." It names the day that the church tells Matthew's story of the magi from foreign lands who follow the light of the star and "see" Jesus as Christ. This is important because this acknowledges that the greatest gift given by the God who comes down to be with His people, is to be shared by Jew and Gentile alike. The irony here is the wise men who were not Jewish scholars were the first to recognize the sign of the star in the sky and the importance of its meaning. It's commonly believed that the star would have also been seen in Jerusalem and Judea but somehow the Jewish scholars were asleep in the temple. Even if they saw it, they either ignored it or didn't look in the Jewish scriptures to find out what it meant. More importantly, if they did understand…

Epiphany Thoughts

This Sunday we will be celebrating Epiphany. The text below is the one I'm preaching from. What are your thoughts about this text?
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
 6‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
  are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
 for from you shall come a ruler
  who is to shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
  7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethl…

Shepherds and Other Outcasts

This is the sermon I preached on Christmas Eve at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The text was Luke 2:1-20.
On a long winter evening, we gather to proclaim the coming of the light. Isaiah announces that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Paul reminds us that the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all. In this familiar account of Jesus’ birth, the evening sky is bright with the heavenly host singing, “Glory to God in the highest.” Amid our broken world, we proclaim that the prince of peace is born among us. (Sundaysandseasons).

After all the shopping, cleaning, cooking and preparing and after trying to make ends meet; keeping a distraught family together, struggling to get a job and worrying about a loved one serving overseas—after all the stuff that makes our lives crazy—the short, simple, peaceful word that we are of infinite value and worth to God is perhaps just what we need to hear tonight.
We long and hope that God will counter the challenges of …

When I'm So Blue

This is the sermon I preached for Blue Christmas, Sunday 12/22/19 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The Bible passage I used was Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19.  
The people of Israel were in a really bad way. Psalm 80 is a psalm of lament, the psalmist’s response to the trouble. Diving together into the psalm, we will find comfort. The feelings expressed mingle with our own as we allow God to be with us in our sufferings, when we are blue. I’m not trying to put anyone on the spot, but is there anyone here who has never suffered pain and sorrow at some time in their life? If so, I’d like to see your hand. That’s what I thought.
This psalm is one of communal lament. People broke with their normal routines, assembled at sanctuaries, offered sacrifices, lamented their distress and pleaded with God to intervene on their behalf. Psalms of lament follow this pattern:
God We have a problem Why have You allowed this to happen to us? How long do we have to put up with this? We know that You can do something abo…