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Living the Life

This is the sermon I preached at St.Timothy Lutheran Church last Sunday, Sept. 25. The text was  1 Timothy 6:6-19. Have you heard people say, “I’m living the dream?” It may mean the person is doing great, but at other times it may be said sarcastically because the individual is struggling. Let’s make a change, so the statement says, “I'm living the life. ” This passage is about stewardship, but it is about so much more. A little phrase at the very end of the passage flashes like a neon sign. “…build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life ,”(v. 19b). Are those going their own way, not following Jesus, missing out on something? A false life is being offered that claims we will be happy and fulfilled if we only make enough money to own all the really cool things. We've all heard the expression, “Whoever has the most toys wins.” God wouldn’t want to deny us now, would he? I have questions. What is this “life that is truly life?” How do we get it? What good does
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A Crisco Coated Watermelon

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel text is Luke 16:1-13. Jesus seems to be messing with our minds in today’s parable. It has been likened to a watermelon coated in Crisco being used as a football. It can be played with, but you just can’t get a hold of it. Like that slippery watermelon, parables are meant to keep us on our toes.  This parable is familiar and puzzling to most of us. What do we do with phrases like, “I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.” No matter how we try to look at it, we just can’t get it to make sense. Society and relationships in Jesus’ day were based on honor and shame. If you had someone over for dinner, you invited someone of a higher rank than yourself, with more honor. This way you were showing honor to your guest and by having him over, you received honor. It would be like us having someone famous come to our h

God Gets Emotional

This is the sermon I preached last Sunday at St. Timothy Lutheran Church . The text was Luke 15:1-10. There is no one definitive interpretation of any parable. Parables are like multi-faceted jewels. You hold it and look at it one way and think you understand. Then you turn it over, gaze at it from a different angle, and you still have a different perception of its beauty. One way to interpret this parable is: lost, found, party. Amen.   But today, I want to focus on the numerous times we find joy and rejoicing in this gospel passage.   First, I want to ask a question. Who all is rejoicing and experiencing joy in this passage? Let’s look at the reading. First, the shepherd rejoices when he finds the lost sheep and calls on his friends to rejoice with him. They’re gonna party!   Looking at the story of the lost coin. It doesn’t say, but we can assume the woman rejoiced when she found the lost coin. She, too, calls on her friends to rejoice with her because of the coin she foun

Crisco Coated Watermelon

Here are some thoughts about this Sunday's gospel. Luke 16:1-13 1 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2 So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ 3 Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ 7 Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take you

Party On!

This is the sermon I preached Sunday, Sept. 4 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The text is Luke 14:25-33.  The enthusiastic crowd following Jesus was unaware that he was going to Jerusalem to the cross. They decided on their own to follow him. Jesus emphasizes the importance of his words by t urning to address the hasty volunteers. He tells the crowd, “Think about what you’re doing and where I’m going and what that will take, then decide if you're willing to go with me all the way.” Woven throughout the fabric of today’s gospel are the words, “if you’re not willing…you can’t be my disciple.” The first not willing is refusal to let go of family ties. Jesus then goes one step further, telling the crowd to let go of, “ even one’s own self!” What did Jesus mean?   In Luke’s world, high cultural value was placed upon the family network. Jesus says disciples must disavow their primary allegiance to their family. Families would certainly disapprove of Jesus’ instructions. Such a com

All Are Welcome

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 8/28/22 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church . The gospel text was Luke 14:1, 7-14 .  Jesus continues his journey to Jerusalem to the cross. Along the way, he has altercations with the religious leaders, hence, “they were watching him closely.” “They” were those religious leaders of the day who were waiting for Jesus to make a misstep.  Jesus was not simply invited to eat at the home of a friend. This was no simple meal. The Greek shows us that it was a lavish affair—hence the jockeying for position at the table. The closer you sat to the host, the greater your importance. There were no place cards. You just can’t take Jesus anywhere without there being a scene. As Jesus arrives at this lavish dinner party, Luke describes the scene as if we were seeing it through Jesus’ eyes. Can you imagine Jesus walking in and slowly taking in the setting—the extravagance, the opulence, the rich and famous, and a few poorer folks? There was likely plenty of elbowing