St. Matthew 6:24-34 – Trinity 15 – 2016

St. Matthew 6:24-34 – Trinity 15 – 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
September 4, 2016

liliesIn the Name of Jesus. Amen.  Look at the birds of the air:  they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they?

Learn from the birds of the air, dear children of God.  Watch them.  You are worth more to God than the birds.  You must be.

And consider the lilies in the field!   You know, the wildflowers you cut down because they are invading your grass.  They don’t work or have bank accounts or retirement plans, but the most richest King of all time in all His bling-glory isn’t dressed up like one of these little wild flowers.

Those flowers — they normally last, what, a day?  Boom — your whole yard is full of them.  Then, gone.  I don’t know anything about the average life expectancy of a bird, but I know they are here today, and tomorrow they are like you and me – tossed into the fire or thrown into a box. Continue reading

St. Luke 10:23-37 – Trinity 13 – 2016

St. Luke 10:23-37 – Trinity 13 – 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
August 21, 2016
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good-samaritan-iconIn the Name of Jesus. Amen. “But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?'”

Jesus had been going around just giving salvation away to people who everyone knew didn’t deserve it — sinners the likes of you and me. And this lawyer was trying to set Him straight. “Jesus must be soft on the Law. That’s the only way to explain this willy-nilly giving out of forgiveness.”

And the lawyer knew the Law well: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Continue reading

St. Mark 7:31-37 – Trinity 12 – 2016

St. Mark 7:31-37 – Trinity 12 – 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
August 15, 2016

ephphathaIn the Name of Jesus. Amen. The deaf man in today’s Gospel couldn’t speak clearly.  His body didn’t do what he wanted it to do.  His mind didn’t communicate what he needed it to.  His universe was out of whack. 

Our bodies don’t obey us any more.  Our mouths doesn’t say the things we want to say.  Our minds don’t see things the way we will them to, the way we try to force them to.  Things that we want to heal don’t.   Things don’t fix themselves.

Things happen — not the way they are “supposed to.” They don’t go the way we want them to go.  The ball bounces a different way than we intend it to.  The people we trust, we love, don’t.  We just don’t get or understand them.  The universe… just isn’t right. Continue reading

St. Mark 8:1-10 – Trinity 7 – 2016

St. Mark 8:1-10 – Trinity 7 – 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
July 10, 2016

loavesandfishesIn the Name of Jesus. Amen.  About thirteen years ago, some young pup nurse came into the room to talk to Amy and I and he looked at Sophia and looked at her chart and said, “Well, you might want to consider having your daughter committed. She’s going to be… well… she’s going to be pretty much nothing but a ‘bump on a log.’ She’ll be nothing more than a vegetable. I mean, if she lives very long at all.”

Yesterday, my little girl turned fourteen.  That’s fourteen more gifts than we expected.  And you know, the only bump on a log that Sophia knows is the bumps on the Lord’s cross.  He for her — Calvary much.  She on the receiving end of all His gifts.  Continue reading

St. Luke 6:36-42 — Holy Trinity 4 — 2016

St. Luke 6:36-42 — Holy Trinity 4 — 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
June 20, 2016
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H-58 Trinity 4  (Lu 6.36-42).jpgIn the Name of Jesus. Amen.  Be merciful as your Father is merciful.  The readings we have in church were picked for us by the Early Church.  It never fails to astound me how relevant the texts are even for us in our day.  Today is just a great Father’s Day text!  It’s just teed up perfectly!  Good thing with Buetow gone and you being left with the old man that it’s a Gospel lesson that not even I can’t hit a home run with!  It’s like there is a God.  Oh wait, there is!

How is your Father in heaven?  He’s merciful in the suffering and death of Christ.  He doesn’t want to judge.  He doesn’t like to condemn.  He wants to forgive.  He longs to have mercy.  He gives gifts.  He saves. Continue reading

Acts 2:1-21 – Pentecost Sunday 2016

Acts 2:1-21 – Pentecost Sunday 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
May 14-15, 2016
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pentecost-iconIn the name of Jesus. Amen.   Pentecost teaches us that God is for everyone. He is for all – for all, therefore, for you. 

And all people means all people.  He’s for reserved and super polite Midwesterners, and Southerners who have no grasp of the English language. 

But it’s more than that.  All means: Jerusalem Jews, Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia (must be a frigid place!) and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, Romans, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs. Continue reading

St. John 15:26-16:4 — Exaudi 2016

St. John 15:26-16:4 — Exaudi 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
May 8, 2016
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holy_trinityIn the name of Jesus, our risen and ascended Lord. Amen.   

I have said these things to y’all so that you would not be scandalized.

Scandalized.  Jesus knows the suffering and persecution in your life is awful.  He doesn’t want you to fall away, to deny Him.

So, He warns you.  They are gonna throw you out of church.  They are going to think they are serving God by killing you.  And you know what that means in this world, you know who does that sort of thing. Continue reading