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  • Apr 21, 2018 | 14:15 pm

    Tomorrow is "Good Shepherd" Sunday - the Fourth Sunday of Easter (it used to be the Third.... but that's a long story), and our assigned Gospel is John 10:11-18. Here's the intro to tomorrow's preaching....."I am the Good Shepherd."So - every year in the Easter season, we get this "Jesus is the Good Shepherd" stuff, and it is occasionally worth while to remember why that is so. So - notice what Jesus said here, "the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." That's God Friday, right? Jesus laid down His life as a sacrifice to cover our sin, pay our debt, die our death. With His sacrifice, the wolf lost its teeth - and in Christ, sin, death, and hell can no longer scatter us. But this was not all Jesus said. He also said, "I lay down My life that I may take it up again." And that's Easter Sunday, right? Jesus didn't stay dead. We have a Shepherd Who died and is raised - because a dead shepherd who stayed dead couldn't continue to save us, guard us, guide us, give us life. But, a raised Shepherd - Who has broken death, over Whom death has no more power - this Shepherd will be with us always. This Shepherd can give us life. This is the Good Shepherd.And this Good Shepherd, Who died and is raised, this Shepherd can lead us through death to life, even as He is life itself. He can lead us out of sin to righteousness as He is the Righteous One. So, it is well and good to remember - in this Easter season - that by He death and resurrection Jesus has proven Himself to be our Good Shepherd.But there's more than just that here......Join us tomorrow morning at 8:00 or 10:45 to catch the rest.....

  • Apr 14, 2018 | 13:10 pm

    For the Third Sunday of Easter, the assigned Gospel is Luke 24:36-49 this year. This is last of the resurrection narratives we'll get in this season (not counting Ascension Day). This always strikes me as odd since there are so many to consider. The road to Emmaus, breakfast in Galilee, the mountaintop with the Eleven - Jesus was showing up left and right during the 40 days between His resurrection and Ascension - it was no one shot deal. Also, this is one of those occasions where I really don't like the "Critical Text" (the basis for the English Standard Version translation). The Majority Text has the little word "must" in Christ's declaration - as in, "the Christ must suffer... and be raised... and repentance and forgiveness be proclaimed..." "Must" has the force of divine necessity, and reminds us that proclamation is as integral to Jesus' work as is His death and resurrection. Anyway, here's the intro to tomorrow's sermon...."Thus it is written: that the Christ should suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations.""Thus it is written..." - this was Jesus' subtle way of letting the disciples know that the Word was enough. We got a little of that in John last week as well - wen Jesus told Thomas, "do you believe because you have seen? Blessed are those who believe but have not seen...." And how can they believe without seeing? Because it is written. It is written by witnesses - and more than that - it is written by God. If God has said Messiah must suffer to redeem sinners - then so be it. If God has said Messiah must rise from the dead - then so be it. It is truth - whether you have seen it or not. Thus it is written....Now, when Jesus came to the disciples that night - and in verses 36-43 of our reading, it is still the night of the first Easter, when the disciples had locked the doors for fear - when Jesus came that night, they already had several reports of Him being seen - it wasn't just the word saying that He must rise, it wasn't just angels announcing that "He is not here, but is risen, just as He said." Mary Magdalene had seen Him; the other women had seen Him; Peter had seen Him; the two disciples on the road to Emmaus had seen Him. This was no dream - no hallucination. Jesus was alive - for thus it was written that He should rise.....Find out why this matters tomorrow at 8:00 or 10:45 in the morning.....

  • Apr 7, 2018 | 14:36 pm

    This Sunday, it's "Easter Part 2: Evening the First Day." One small curiosity - in creation, as God ordered it, it was evening then morning for the first day. But now, in the new creation as the resurrection shines forth, it begins with morning and continues into evening.... Anyway, the appointed Gospel is John 20:19-31. Here's the introduction to tomorrow's sermon....."As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you."So - if you want to cut to the chase on what this moment in Jesus' resurrection means for us, it's this: Because Christ our King has returned victorious from His battle with sin and death, we are now sent as His emissaries to establish His kingdom at home, in the civil realm, and, of course, here in church. And that is done as we receive His Holy Spirit and forgive in His name.But, there's so much happening in the upper room on the evening of the first Easter that we can't quite leave it just at that.So - let's try to think of what things were like that first Easter. What we know by the time evening had fallen is this - angels had announced that Jesus was risen as He said He would; Mary Magdalene had seen Him; the other women had also seen Him; John and Peter had seen the empty tomb; the apostles had dismissed the women's reports as delirium; Peter had seen Jesus at some point; two disciples on the road to Emmaus had seen Jesus too; and, everyone was scared.To us it doesn't make sense. It seems like it was time to break out the champagne and celebrate - but the reality was this: they knew word of the empty tomb would get out. They knew that the authorities were deadly serious about putting an end to all this Jesus stuff once and for all. And they knew the first place the authorities would go in order to sort out what was going on was to the disciples. So, they locked the doors in fear - and fear overshadowed any joy or hope they had about the resurrection. And there was more - they knew they had failed Jesus. Most of them had run off into the night when Jesus was arrested - Peter denied knowing Jesus. Only John is named as actually being at Jesus' crucifixion - along with the faithful women. But the men? They all had shame. And another fear: that the King, Jesus, would punish them....Join us tomorrow to catch the rest.... 8:00am or 10:45am...Peace!

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