St. Matthew 15:21-28 – Reminiscere 2017

St. Matthew 15:21-28 – Reminiscere 2017
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
Sunday, March 11, 2017
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canaanite womanIn the Name of Jesus. Amen. “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”

The woman was a Canaanite.  That’s all she was when she came to Jesus.  She was outside the faith, outside the family.  She had no stake or claim on God.  She was nothing but a Canaanite.

She had picked up some religious catch phrases to stake a claim on Jesus — you know the ones.  Like children who have just done something naughty can look like angels, we all think we know the right religious catch phrases to con God into giving us what we want. Continue reading

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St. Matthew 4:1-11 – Invocavit 2017

St. Matthew 4:1-11 – Invocavit 2017
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
March 4-5, 2017

temptation_templeIn the Name of Jesus. Amen.  Sin.  It’s slavery.  Worse than any sickness.   Worse than any cancer.  It effects everything that is you – your thoughts, your feelings, your everything.  It twists everything that is you. 

Sometimes you sin almost against your will, contrary to the good you wanna do.  It’s like chains that we can’t get free of. 

Other times, you sin because you wanna sin, like an itch that the more you scratch it, the less you care that you are doing something bad for you.

And it’s not someone else that does the evil you do, or that you aren’t like that – you are, you do, and you keep doing.  And it’s not even that the Serpent has to offer you to be like God any more – you’ll itch for a far cheaper prize, you’ll sell out for far less.  Continue reading

St. Matthew 20:1-16 – Septuagesima 2017

St. Matthew 20:1-16 – Septuagesima 2017
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
February 11-12, 2017
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vineyardIn the name of Jesus. Amen.  This is how the kingdom of God is, dear Saints of God.  This is how God is! 

Jesus saves sinners — sinners who are different than you, sinners who don’t deserve it, people are mostly good but still sinners, and sinners who sees themselves as they truly are — poor, miserable, awful before God — whose only real hope is in the suffering and death of Jesus.

Not earned.  Not deserved.  Not worked for.  Salvation comes by Jesus to sinners like you and me.  By Grace alone.  Received by Faith alone.  Continue reading

St.Mark 8:26-34 – “We Confess” Evening Prayer

St.Mark 8:26-34 – “We Confess” Evening Prayer
Concordia University Irvine
February 4, 2017
Watch here as a part of the Evening Prayer service

goodfridayIn the name of Jesus. Amen.  And He said to them, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter answered Him, “You are the Christ.”

That’s the confession we confess!  You, Jesus, are the Christ.  You are the One rejected by the chief priests, elders, and teachers of the Law.  You are the One crucified under Pontius Pilate, who died and buried.  You are the One who on the third day rose again.

Jesus is the suffering servant.  He is Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the World.  He is my holiness before God.  He is my forgiveness before God, my justification, and my sanctification.  Yours too! Continue reading

John 1:1-14 – Christmas Day – 2016

John 1:1-14 – Christmas Day – 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
December 25, 2016
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babyjesusMerry Christmas!! In the name of Jesus. Amen.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Merry Christmas!  God has thrown out the religious playbook.  He has changed everything.  He reshaped the compass on where He is and where you are.

God is with sinners in Jesus now — for sinners.  He’s right down in the mud and muck of your world.  Redeeming it — redeeming you from all the mud and muck in your life. 

Since Christmas, where you are, there God is.  In the water and His name, in the word of Absolution, in the Body and Blood of Jesus.  God is with you.  God is for you.  God is near you. Continue reading

St. Luke 2:1-20 – Christmas Eve – 2016

St. Luke 2:1-20 – Christmas Eve – 2016
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church, McHenry, IL
December 24, 2016
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nativityMerry Christmas!!! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.  It’s true.  It’s all true.  It seems impossible, almost like a magical fairy tale.  But, it all happened.  Everything that you heard in the Gospel tonight — it all happened to save you.

You know this Gospel by heart.  You learned it in Christmas songs that we sing every year.  So, feel free to sing with me! Continue reading