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Everyone knows that when you are driving in the wrong direction, you need to make a U-turn and perhaps start over, or at least change your route. Do churches need to make a U-turn? Churches need to assess the route that they're on: their reason for existence. We are challenged in this day and age to re-examine who we are and what we are as Christia…
 
Our normal interpretation of Psalm 23 is that of a shepherd careful and caring, cuddling the sheep. But, King David actually describes a shepherd who is not just loving, but one who is strict and sever with the sheep to keep them out of danger in life. The shepherd is more like a policeman hunting down lawbreakers but with the ultimate goal of savi…
 
What experience have you had that gave you unbelievable, unspeakable, joy. Joy is what motivated the Apostle John to write his letters to congregations in Asia Minor. But, joy was not the first reaction of the disciples when Jesus met them in the upper room. Jesus had to "open their minds" for them to "understand" -- then they had unfathomable joy.…
 
In our Lenten journey with Jesus, we visit the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate. After the disciples left Jesus, he was taken prisoner and brought to the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate. Peter waited and denied Jesus in the courtyard outside, while inside Jesus stands judgment. We contemplate Innocence, guilt and freedom in this place. - https://you…
 
Guilt begins with "G" - but Grace also begins with "G". Which do you want? How is hearing the rooster crow when Peter denied knowing Christ in Caiaphas' courtyard a sound of guilt, as well as it is a sound of grace? How does your guilt stand in your way of seeing God's grace and forgiveness?
 
This Lenten season we're visiting specific Places of the Passion. Today we walk with Jesus to the Mt. of Olives, where in minutes Jesus will be betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, spit upon, beaten and then crucified. But, even though these things are about to happen Jesus teaches his disciples to sing. Yes, sing! And, there are three reasons to si…
 
Today Is Transfiguration Sunday. Today marks the end of Epiphany season, in which the Lord revealed to the world who he was. On this day, He leaves no shadow of a doubt in the mind of this disciples and us as he is transformed, presto change-o to shine like the sun. But there's more here than bling and bedazzlement. Jesus transfiguration is an excl…
 
In authority and power Jesus heals many people, including the mother-in-law of Simon Peter. Which might make one think, “With Jesus’ power and authority, why are there so few miraculous healings today?” Why have I, or anyone I know, not experienced a miraculous encounter when we most needed it? Has Jesus lost his authority and power?…
 
Authority and Power; something we all want AND something we hate that others have. We resist authority, people telling us what to do. What is authority and power. Can someone have authority without the power, or, power without authority. There is a difference. Does Satan have power and authority equal to that of God/Jesus? Why does Mark spend so mu…
 
While some people may idolize great prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Jonah seems doomed to be demoted as a inflated and conflated whale story. Yet, we have more in common with our poor chum Jonah than we do with any other Old Testament prophet. (This sermon uses graphics and may best be selected from the playlist for January 24, 2021 her…
 
Pastor Aaron Putnam gives this message based on Isaiah 60. Aaron is director of LINC Bay Area. LINC is Lutheran Inner City Mission Coalition, which helps people who have a vision and desire to be pastors or evangelists realize their calling through mentoring. Rev. Putnam's message is about being a light in the darkness. At times our presence in thi…
 
Today we celebrate Jesus' Baptism. On this Epiphany Sunday, Jesus begins His public ministry by which he reveals himself as the Light of the World. Many ask, “Why was Jesus baptized if he had no sins?” While attempted answers to this question range from “He had to” to “fulfill Scripture.” I think Jesus’ baptism deals more FOR US rather FOR HIM. Thi…
 
A question lurks in the background of our Galatians text when Paul says “the time was right.” And, this is my question today. How did God know or determine when the time was right? How was everything put in place and ready for His Son to come? The prophets couldn’t say when – just like we cannot say when the world will end. So, I wonder, did things…
 
When the angel said to the shepherds, “And this shall be a SIGN unto you: a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes,” they were not talking about a sign of proof. The nature of God’s signs is different from our understanding. They are not proofs of His existence; they are tokens of His mercy and love. There is a big difference between what we claim or ho…
 
Unto Us a Savior is Born. The story of Christmas from Luke 2 is so well known that it permeates even the "folklore" of secularized Christmas. Songs, readings, and imagery on TV and in songs retell a story that is ages old. We can rejoice for the true reason...not a Christmas "feeling" or a "time of peace and unity" in the way the world portrays it.…
 
Firstborns are important in the bible. They inherit the wealth of the father. At times, the firstborn is not an exemplary person. Take Cain, for example, who killed his brother. On there other hand, take Isaac, who was the firstborn of Abraham according to the promise given him by God. He was the firstborn according to promise and God tested Abraha…
 
A Midweek devotion for the Second Week of Advent. Todays Hymns: What Child is This and The Twelve Days of Christmas. What is the history behind these hymns. Also, our reading from the last prophet of the Old Testament, Malachi, chapter 2, where the Lord pronounces judgment against Israel and Judah who have forgotten their first love (God) and broke…
 
Can you imagine traveling now? With all the COVID 19 bans on getting together, distancing, etc. It might seem dangerous to travel. Mary and Joseph, however, were forced to travel to the city of David, Bethlehem, according to the edict of Caesar Augustus. They had no choice. There is a lot of traveling - journeying - going on in the Bible. As Christ…
 
Midweek devotions are an additional devotional time to Sunday services. Each week, for four weeks, this podcast will have a devotion based on two familiar Christmas hymns and their background stories, a reading from the prophet Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, and a short devotional reading from the letters of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Du…
 
Decrees are given by power and authority. they're no good if there is no power or authority behind a decree. Caesar Augustus gives a decree for taxation. what kind of power did he have to mandate the obedience of others. god gives decrees too. He decrees total obedience and absolute trust in Him, punishable by death. Decrees are given in accordance…
 
2020 is a difficult year in which to give thanks. Can we? Seriously? How and why should we. We give thanks for the faithfulness which God has shown to all creation through the work of His son Jesus, Christ. His death and resurrection fulfilled the promise of the Father, by offering a sacrifice for having gone our own way after creation. He forgives…
 
Love your neighbor as yourself. Nothing could be simpler. Easy-peasy, right? Maybe the Ten Commandments really were better than this simple, shortened summary. What was Jesus thinking? Until we even consider this command, we have to consider what love is. A funny question perhaps. Do our emotions define love, or does God define love?…
 
Few opportunities in Scripture lend themselves to talk about politics and religion. But, it is an election year so I think our gospel for today is particularly apropos. According to our constitution, we are instructed not to mix politics and religion. In Jesus’ day, however, this question of separation was particularly difficult…
 
Philippians 4:4-13 - REJOICE IN THE LORD, ALWAYS!!!!! What? How is rejoicing even possible today. From COVID-19 to unreliable political leaders, violence, insecurity, lack of authority, personal depression, etc. ALWAYS? Seriously? What is St. Paul getting at? How is this even possible? Join in.....
 
We conclude our study of Romans with the final chapter. To the naked eye it's merely a list of catch-all greetings from Paul to certain individuals in the congregations of Rome. Are they important? Is there any historical significance to these otherwise unknown people of the first century church? These unsung heroes of the faith are the reason the …
 
This morning, Paul’s words to us are strange. Strange, in that he joins two very different things together. In just a few short verses, Paul moves from talking about food to talking about the return of Christ. Paul begins by talking about eating. Not eating as in partaking of the Lord’s Supper but eating as in consuming daily food. Some Christians …
 
In our text this morning, Paul addresses what is called the Two Kingdoms; that is, the kingdom of the left: the civil kingdom. And, the kingdom of the right: God’s kingdom, which in this world –AT THIS TIME - is not seen through power and glory, but through grace and forgiveness. The physical fulfillment of this kingdom will come when Christ return…
 
In our text this morning, Paul is not setting out a twelve-step program to “build the better spiritual you” but rather revealing the varied ways in which God is at work in the world. And Paul invites us to consider that vision this morning so that today, in our small corner of this vast world, we too can participate in this ever- living kingdom of …
 
Earth is crammed with heaven. God comes down from heaven and touches the earth, filling it with his glory. But only those who see take off their shoes. Our readings this morning invite us to be among those who see. They invite us to see the earth crammed with heaven, to see how God in Christ has come down from heaven and touched the earth to fill i…
 
Has God rejected Israel or not? Will God save Israel or not? These are the questions arising from the text. Even more troubling, however, is the picture these verses can give you of God. God seems unfaithful – one time calling a people to be his own and then rejecting them only to call another. What is to keep God from rejecting the Gentile church?…
 
How easy it is for us to enter church and turn our eyes upward to the cross and leave the world behind. All we can see is Jesus and seeing him, we can forget where we are or what he would have us be doing. We can simply gaze at Jesus, hanging there on the cross, dying for us and forget that we live in the world and that God has chosen us to be invo…
 
When we look up bible passages that meet only our momentary needs to avoid worrying, avoid temptation, help us through the day, Christianity becomes something it was never intended to be: a private, personal religion. It becomes something you turn to not when you enter the world but when you retreat from it. It’s something you read in your private …
 
Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. Paul makes it a point of reminding us that even though we live among the ruins of sin in the world and in our own lives, that Christ's death and resurrection restores the ruined world to God. We are given new life; forgiven life. He teaches us that a new perspective to view our suffering world, one …
 
What is the life Spirit of all Christians as they struggle daily with evil and pestilence in the world, their own temptations, fear, mistrust? Do we look to ourselves? The security that is offered on commercials, in the news, to our government, local authorities to help us through? In his letter to the Romans, Paul has presented us with Christ, who…
 
We continue to preach through Paul's letter of Romans. Last Sunday, Paul presented "Christ, our Deliverer". This Sunday, he presents his readers to "God, Our Father." God claims sinners His children and heirs through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. God is Father to all creation, but creation has abandoned God. He de…
 
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