Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 30 - Robert Barnes

the work of Luther's "good, pious dinner guest and houseguest... this holy martyr" continues on to this day in his old stomping grounds of Cambridge, where Rev. Reginald Quirk serves as Pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Preceptor (President) of Westfield House (seminary and academic house of studies), and Chair of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in England.
Here's the website for the congregation. Explore a bit, and listen to the previous Sunday's sermon, or find out more about our British Lutheran brothers and sisters. Please remember them in your prayers.

In honor of his work ahead of them, the church body calls their Pastors' Conferences "Barnes' Conferences."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

nothing to do with TDP - just a pic of my dad and me

(though I did just post my sermon on the Fourth Commandment, so it does have something to do with meditation on the Scriptures, yes?)

look to your left of the Dodger player's right shoulder. You'll see a guy wearing a blue shirt (me) next to his dad wearing the Hippos cap my sister Susan gave him (mostly white with some blue on the cap) - we were about four rows from the right field wall on Monday night.

(thanks to my lovely and gracious and intelligent Laura, who knows how to capture such computer images. of course, now I'm wondering if I should have gotten express written consent from MLB to post this image.)

One last post on July 28

For Bible Class yesterday, I prayed TDP's prayer for Tuesday, which included a petition for prisoners of war. One student noted that was very timely with the news of the soldier from Idaho being captured. I also note that yesterday's OT reading, even without the Tuesday prayer, could have inspired some to pray for POWs as certainly the Philistines captured some of Saul's soldiers. Perhaps the Scriptures should inspire more petitions for us to make than we might realize.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What others are saying

nothing to do with TDP (unless you count that we are heading into the David narrative in the OT readings) - Pr. Douthwaite points out that the NBC series "Kings" is based on a certain true story.

What others are saying - July 28

Pastor Weedon has this on today's writing, and this throught on a better word than "evangelism" (with its cultural baggage) sparked by the prayer for Tuesday in the back of TDP.

I'm just sayin'

been busy with juggling work and family visiting. Took my dad to the ballgame last night to see the Dodgers play in St. Louis (hopefully the boys in blue will score more runs tonight). Manny Ramirez was "welcomed" with all sorts of boos after his suspension. Haven't figured out yet which time Jesus points out the hypocrisy of His opponents that it reminded me of. Especially interesting was the guy sitting right in front of me wearing the Mark McGwire t-shirt.
I'm just sayin'

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Homily on the Fourth Commandment and Proper 12B Readings

Genesis 9:8-17
Ephesians 3:14-21
Mark 6:45-56

We move on to the Fourth Commandment today in our sermon series on the Ten Commandments, found on page 321, which we will recite today right off the bat.

What is the Fourth Commandment? Honor your father and mother.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents or other authorities but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.

This commandment reminds us that when God says “Love your neighbor,” He does not just mean those people who do not share a home with you. He also means our family members. And more than just loving them, in faithfulness to God we honor, serve, obey and cherish our parents. We might disagree with them, but we must always show them respect. This commandment also applies to how we treat bosses, police officers, teachers, and all other authorities in our lives, but today’s sermon will only be about authority within the home.

Our first two readings today show that family is important to God. Long before He gave the Law to Moses at Sinai, God spoke to Father Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives. God established His promise in the rainbow, that He would preserve the lives of future generations of their family. Then, in our Epistle, Paul talks about his prayers for the Ephesians, referring to God as “the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15). The Christians in Ephesus were having a difficult time seeing God’s care for them. And so Paul took the time to build them up in the knowledge that they were God’s children, and that just as they were confident that their earthly fathers cared for them, so also they could be confident in God’s fatherly love – for all earthly fathers are called by God to be mirrors reflecting the divine Fatherhood of God, bringing order and stability to chaotic lives, applying Law and the Gospel; not in a tyrannical way, but in a way that keeps in mind that God has entrusted His little ones to our care.

Our parents were the first way God delivered His love to us. From this fact, Martin Luther made the point that both God’s love and our parents’ love should move us to keep the Fourth Commandment. He wrote that everyone should “consider what his parents have done for him, and he will find that he has from them body and life, moreover, that he has been fed and reared when otherwise he would have perished a hundred times in his own filth” (Large Catechism, I.129).

Without our parents, and even more so, without God, we would have been left for dead in the mess we had created. Yet when we want to be disobedient to this Commandment – or any other – we conveniently disregard the times they rescued us, and all other times they sacrificed to provide for us. We mentally change them, imagining them to be worse than they really are, so that we do not have to be grateful for the way they benefit us. Going back to Luther, he said, “here again the devil rules in the world, so that the children forget their parents, as we all forget God, and no one considers how God nourishes, protects, and defends us, and bestows so much good on body and soul; especially when an evil hour comes, we are angry and grumble with impatience, and all the good which we have received throughout our life is wiped out [from our memory]. Just so we do also with our parents, and there is no child that understands and considers [what the parents have endured while nourishing and fostering him], except the Holy Ghost grant him this grace” (paragraph 128). Strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16), our minds easily recall the sacrificial love of our parents.

More than just feeding and clothing us, godly parents see to it that their children know God as our Father and Jesus as our Savior. Like Noah before the Flood preached not only to his neighbors, but also to his own family, so also godly parents preach to us the destruction of unbelief and the Lord’s salvation from it through His Baptismal waters. Parents lead their children to worship the Lord, like Noah led his family after the Flood, building an altar in thanksgiving to God.

Our parents proved their care for us in both body and soul. Unless they told us to do something God said is sinful, what reasons did we as little children have for ignoring or going against what our parents told us? It would be inconsistent for them to care for us as they did, and then to turn around and parent us in a way that would hurt or harm us.

Except that, as parents ourselves, we know that we are inconsistent. We have abused our God-given authority in ways that will benefit us, with little thought for how it might benefit our children. It hurts, but you and I know Jesus is right when He says, “you… who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children” (Matthew 7:11). We can do the right thing for our kids… and yet we are still evil, seeking to get good gifts for ourselves. And so we do not consistently do good for our kids. We change.

Though it seems like our Gospel text has nothing to do with our life under the Fourth Commandment, Mark 6 has some Good News for such inconsistently obedient, constantly changing people as ourselves. It started out with Jesus immediately hustling His disciples into their boat, sending them “to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd” (Mark 6:45). St. John lets us know that the 5000 who had just fed on the 5 loaves and 2 fish were thankful for the teachings and miracles of Jesus. But then they wanted to change Jesus, like children who want to change their parents into sugar daddies and indulgent mommies. They wanted to make Jesus into their king on the spot, so that He would always be there to exercise His messianic muscle, giving them bread so that they would never have to work again. They had immediately changed from thankful to self-serving.

So, after seeing His disciples safely away from that crowd’s influence, Jesus heads off on His own to pray with all boldness and confidence as a dear child speaking to His dear Father. He has not changed. He is still the obedient Son of God. He did not become a man to be crowned a bread king. Jesus is here as the Lamb to be sacrificed, to take away the sin of the world.

The disciples change. They become afraid. Not so much of the waves. Many of them are experienced fisherman. Though they expected to take 3 hours to get where they were going, and it had now been 8 hours of hard rowing, they had seen worse weather before. But then, about 3 am, they see something they had not seen before, and it did scare them. Seeing Jesus walking on the water, they think He is a ghost, and cry out terrified. The disciples have changed from faithful followers to fearful fishermen. Rather than rejoice that Jesus is coming, they want Him to disappear.

But Jesus has not changed. He is not a ghost, but the faithful Son of God. So He speaks His word of comfort, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50). Even though the disciples have changed from faith in Jesus to fear of Jesus, the Lord does not leave them floundering. He comes to them, because the Creator of sea and wind is here to deliver them from their fears. The setting may change, but Jesus is Jesus. When He is feeding 5000 with five loaves and two fish, He is the Son of God who has come to save. In the middle of the night, when it is all dark and threatening, He is still the Son of God who has come to save. And when you realize how your sin has made you fail your parents as their child, or your sin has made you fail your child as their parent, Jesus is still the Son of God who has come to save as He hangs on the Cross, shedding His blood for the forgiveness of your trespasses. “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Sinners like you and me are inconsistent. We change. By the end of this morning, your thoughts will have turned to something less than godly. By the end of the day, you might snap at the kids, or been frustrated by your parents. You will again become worried about what the future holds as the storms of life will make Jesus look far away, unable to help, like when the Disciples thought He was a ghost out to get them. Or, like the crowd that wanted Jesus to be the bread king, your sinful mind will try to change who Jesus is, expecting that being God’s child should make your life easier. But Jesus does not change. And thanks be to God for that. Because He does not change, His promises are certain. Promises such as, “This is My Body, This is My Blood.” Promises such as, “I shall raise you up on the Last Day.” Promises such as “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.”

To fulfill these promises, the Son of God honored His Father in Heaven, was obedient to the point of death – for all the times you failed as a child to honor, serve and obey, love and cherish your parents; and for all the times as parents we have abused or neglected our authority. On the Cross, Jesus exposes the fatherly heart of the God who calls His wayward, wandering children home to Himself; our Father in Heaven who gives good gifts to His children, not because we get good grades in religion, or high marks in home economics, but because He is good and gracious and merciful.

Do not doubt that God will strengthen you for your tasks as parent or child. For He “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us[. To] Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20 - Elijah and what others are saying

Aardvark Alley has this bio on Elijah from a few years back.

Back in college, I was fed by Pastor Cwirla's preaching on Elijah (I was attending with a friend who was a member at Hacienda Heights). From Elijah's thinking that he was the only one left (but there were the 7000 that God said He had reserved who had not bowed down to Baal), Pr. Cwirla made the point that there are no soloists in the symphony of God. If only I could remember more sermons as well (and if only I could help others remember the good points of my sermons better.)

A friend is facing a similar struggle as what Elijah faced in 1 Kings 19. Please remember him in your prayers.

Another friend, Pastor Stuckwisch, reminds us where he finds encouragement (and where you and I might find it as well) in this post from today.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What others said - The nativity of Samuel

a few days ago, I posted a link to a midweek Advent sermon on the birth of Samson. That same series by Pastor Koch includes a sermon on the birth of Samuel (scroll about 3/4 of the way down).

After stating that Samuel's name means "Heard by God", Pr. Koch goes on to make the point that

"Even as the birth of Samuel brought peace and joy to Hannah, so the birth of Jesus brings peace and joy to us. For in Jesus God has answered your prayers in a most profound way. In Christ all of your needs are supplied; every petition finds its 'yes' in Him. Christmas is living proof that you are blessed and not cursed by God, that God does indeed love and forgive you. For the Son of God took on your very nature, your flesh and blood, in order that He might redeem you from all that brings you bitterness and sorrow in this life. He became like you in order to rescue you from your isolation and bring you into His everlasting fellowship."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What others are saying - July 15

Weedon took the words right out of my mouth... errr.. fingers? brain? anyway, go read his post.

great rejoicing in answered prayer

I just received an email from my friend, Rev. Martin Noland, announcing that he has accepted the call to serve a congregation in Evansville (Indiana, not Illinois.) Installation will be August 9 (which happens to be my grandma's birthday.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14 - Galatians

Something I read (by John Kleinig? maybe a Weedon New Lutheran Quote of the Day) seems to echo what St. Paul says today in Galatians 3:2-3. We as Lutherans might know that we are saved by grace through faith, but then we do not live the rest of our Christian life by grace through faith ("God hasn't answered my prayers/done this or that for me/etc, because I haven't done this or that...").
Yes, salvation/justification is all God's gracious doing. But sanctification is also all His gracious doing - not ours. "For all who rely upon the works of the law are under a curse" - whether you are relying upon it for your life with God in the hereafter... or in the here and now.

Blessed Jesus, thank you for taking our curse upon Yourself, that we might become the righteousness of God. Grant us Your Spirit to live always by grace.

What others said - Samson's birth

So just who is this Angel of the Lord that speaks to Manoah and his wife?
We discussed this very question on Sunday in Bible class in connection with
another Old Testament story. The Bible reveals that the Angel of the Lord
is perhaps someone different than you might at first think. He is not a
created angel like Gabriel or any of the myriad others that God made in the
beginning. This Angel is uncreated. That's why in many Bibles, the
"A" for this Angel is capitalized. This is an eternal and divine
Being. Angel literally means Messenger; we might even translate it as
"Word," as in John 1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God." You see, this is the Messenger of the Lord, the
Word of the Father, the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, equal with the Father
and the Holy Spirit. The Angel of the Lord is the Son of God, Jesus,
before He was born among us and became man. Here the Son of God has come
down to man to announce a miraculous birth through which God the Father would
deliver His people, just as centuries later the Son of God Himself would be
miraculously born to bring eternal deliverance to His people.

You can read the rest of Rev. Aaron Koch's sermon here (scroll halfway down).

Monday, July 13, 2009

new blog feature

I've added "Reactions" to the bottom of each post. You don't even have to take the time anymore to think of a comment. Now you can efficiently just click "Funny," "Interesting", or my own personal addition, "Heresy!"

What others said - Galatians

for a Bible study on the first two chapters of Galatians, click here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What others said - Acts 15 (July 10)

David Petersen references Barnabas' involvement in Acts 15 in this sermon from a few years ago.

July 10 - a hymn for the Gideon readings

"0 Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe" (as found at the very helpful site

1. 0 little flock, fear not the Foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow;
Dread not his rage and power.
What though your courage sometimes faints,
His seeming triumph o'er God's saints
Lasts but a little hour.

2. Be of good cheer; your cause belongs
To Him who can avenge your wrongs;
Leave it to Him, our Lord.
Though hidden yet from mortal eyes,
His Gideon shall for you arise,
Uphold you and His Word.

3. As true as God's own Word is true.
Not earth nor hell with all their crew
Against us shall prevail.
A jest and byword are they grown;
God is with us, we are His own;
Our victory cannot fail.

4. Amen, Lord Jesus, grant our prayer;
Great Captain, now Thine arm make bare,
Fight for us once again!
So shall Thy saints and martyrs raise
A mighty chorus to Thy praise,
World without end. Amen.

Hymn #263 The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Luke 12:32
Author: Johann M. Altenburg, 1632, asc., ab.
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1855, alt.
Titled: "Verzage nicht, du Haeuflein klein"
Tune: "Kommt her zu mir"Melody: German, c. 1400

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 9 - Roller Coasters and Acts 14

so I'm going downhill fast on the Screaming Eagle at about 2:30 pm with my six year old daughter at Six Flags-St. Louis, and all of a sudden the thougth pops into my head, "I haven't prayed today!" (nor read any Scripture, for that matter.) The next thought was, "I wonder if I could work this roller-coaster ride into my sermon." Probably not, but one never knows.

Without that thought about 8 hours ago, I would never have noticed that today's NT text was what I was commenting on in Bible class this week. In the 3 Year series, our Epistle (2 Corinthians 12:1-10) last Sunday had Paul talking about his mysterious thorn in the flesh that God didn't remove, as His grace is sufficient, for His power is made perfect in weakness.

Now some have theorized that the thorn in the flesh was a stuttering tongue. No way. Not with today's (yesterday's, by the time any of you see this post) reading in TDP, where the people of Lystra think Paul is Hermes, the messenger god (Acts 14:12).

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 5 - Joshua 24

As I was reading another re-telling of the Exodus, I was struck by how important it is to God that Israel know their history. How many times is the Exodus recounted?
And then I saw the trap I had fallen into of thinking this was their story, the telling of how God rescued their family/nation.
No. This is our story. Not just in a spiritual/sermonic application sort of way, but we are a part of the family that was rescued from Egypt. Not many of us may claim to be descendants according to the flesh. But by faith, we are children of Abraham. Let us rejoice in what God has done for Joshua and all our forefathers in the faith.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 2 - one little word from the NT reading

it blew me away one day when I realized just what exactly that little word "all" meant in Acts 10:43.

What others are saying - July 1

if you haven't already (since I know many of you come here from a link on his blog), surf on over to Pastor Stuckwisch's blog for his excellent thoughts on Rahab which go far beyond what I had to say the other day.

Sorry if you've been disappointed in waiting for new posts here. I never realized how tough it was to keep up a blog when I was only reading them. I've been overwhelmed with stuff going on around here, both personal and ministerial wise. Some has been fun, some not. Some time has been spent on necessary things, some wasted. Please ask the Father that I may be more devoted to the good and holy, away from my selfish desires for a fun and easy of life, and pray that I may trust all the more that I have the same God who told Joshua, "Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous" (Joshua 1:5).