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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sermon 02292012 Wednesday of Lent 1

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus Christ, at Your name every knee will bow and every tongue confess Your are Lord.  The Gospel message of Your coming into this World and dying for our sins is clear, but the impact Your message has on Kings and Rulers baffles the mind.  May we be equally affected and clearly hear that the Gospel is for each and every one of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Reality shows have been around since television began.  When I was a child, I remember seeing a court show entitled, “The People’s Court” with Judge Wampner.  Yes, today we have “Judge Judy” and others that try and resolve issues outside of the ‘courts’, but as public entertainment.  If you have watched any shows like this, you have seen when some defendants or plaintiffs come and are very disrespectful and will not be quiet, even talking back to the judge.  But what always occurs is that the judge has both the power and authority to force the person to be quiet.

In tonight’s text from Isaiah we hear of the power and authority of the suffering servant, Jesus Christ.  Hear Isaiah’s words: “15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.

Isaiah prophesied this about Jesus Christ the suffering servant.  The text reads ‘sprinkle’ and I have also heard ‘startled’, both have the indication that Jesus Christ has the power and the authority to silence Kings and anyone in authority and they will understand.  This power is derived from Jesus Christ being God, Second Person of the Trinity and King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Jesus Christ in startling or sprinkling the nations takes His role as King clearly and with unmatched and unquestionable power and authority over all nations.

Jesus Christ message has no equal.  The message Jesus Christ brings is of salvation for all of mankind.  Jesus Christ came down from heaven to earth to be born in a stable, grow up the son of a carpenter, be driven into the wilderness and tempted and tested by Satan, to perform miracles of healing, casting demons out, feeding the thousands and making people whole.  Jesus Christ came to suffer the torment of our sins at the hands of the Jewish leaders and the Roman soldiers and to be hung on a cross in the greatest humiliation for you and for me.  Jesus Christ came to die on the Cross of Calvary, be buried and on the third day, rise from the dead.  For this was the plan of salvation and the great message of Jesus Christ for all of mankind.

The truth is that the message of Salvation Jesus Christ brings for each of us sets us free.  We having been baptized into His life, death and resurrection are set free from the bonds of sin that bind us daily.  Jesus Christ sets us free since we are His children.  Jesus Christ signed, sealed and delivered us the promise of salvation as the suffering servant, not only as the sacrifice for our sins, but He chose this to quiet the Kings and Rulers of our day who believe they are god.

Jesus Christ is the real God Who did this because of His great love for us.  Jesus Christ is the suffering servant Who was exalted, marred and quiets all of the doubters of our world.  For Jesus Christ the suffering servant came into this world not to condemn the world, but that the entire world through His life, death and resurrection would be saved, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sermon 02262012 Lent 1

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus Christ, You were humiliated so we might receive eternal life.  We cannot clearly understand the depth nor pain of humiliation You endured.  May we begin to understand You endured this to give us eternal life and this was part of Your humiliation for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Our text for this morning as we continue our series on the ‘suffering servant’ is taken from Isaiah 52:14.  It reads:

14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man  And His form more than the sons of men.

Recently, Michele, Sarah and I had the opportunity to go to Colorado Springs and visit the United States Air Force Academy.  As part of the introduction at the Visitors Center, we watched the film that describes Cadet life.  When a cadet arrives on campus for the first time they quickly are indoctrinated that they will need to earn the right to wear the insignia on the shoulder that indicates they are part of the Corp of Cadets at the Air Force Academy.  All of their civilian attire and creature comforts are summarily stripped from them and they wear Air Force Blue, eat Air Force food, clean the Air Force way and especially march the Air Force way.  Another fact that they are reminded of daily is that they chose  to come to Colorado Springs, they accept this is part of their indoctrination and whether they understand it or not, they are enduring this to be built up as a Cadet and future graduate of the United States Air Force Academy.

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ chose and accepted freely His being put down, humiliated and being a suffering servant for you and for me.  Jesus Christ knew His calling would be humiliation as part of His Office.  Jesus Christ chose and accepted the reality that He would suffer in Mind, Body and Spirit and endure being treated as the ‘scourge of the earth’.  Jesus Christ knew He would suffer the pain and torment of our sin for each and everyone of us.

Jesus Christ endured His appearance being changed.  To say the least when Jesus Christ was arrested, the Romans did not have ‘humane organizations’ watching every step.  Jesus didn’t have a public outcry for His favorable treatment.  Jesus Christ endured beatings, He endured the whips and chains of the torturers, He endured the discomfort of sweat stinging the open wounds caused by the soldiers, the branches used for torture and the non-stop harassment of the company of soldiers.  Jesus Christ would endure this as a shadow of the former man that He was Who healed the blind and lame, fed the thousands and walked with His disciples between Jordan and Jerusalem.  Yet, Jesus Christ endured His appearance being changed for a single purpose.

Jesus Christ endured being put down, disfigured, devoid of basic human dignity to endure Hell here on earth in His humiliation for you and for me to fulfill the plan of salvation.  Jesus Christ in suffering at the hands of the soldiers, the crowd and at the pleasure of the devil endured this in order to save you and me from our sins.  Through Jesus Christ sacrifice on the Cross Jesus fulfilled His Office, His Calling and His destiny of enduring such humiliation in order to offer you and me eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

This is the gift that God offers us and that Jesus Christ chose to endure.  For Jesus Christ came into this world as the suffering servant for all the world, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sermon 02222012 Ash Wednesday

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray, Lord Jesus Christ as God’s only Son, You came to serve Him and bring salvation unto us all.  As we remember Your life here on earth, may we understand that without Your being lifted up and exalted, the plan of Salvation would not have been fulfilled.  But through Your sacrifice, we are grafted into the promise of eternal life for all of the Saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Tonight, Ash Wednesday, as we embark upon our journey through the season of Lent Isaiah the great prophet of the Old Testament will be our guide and he will help us understand, explore and learn more  how Jesus Christ is seen and understood to be the suffering servant. 

Raising a daughter that likes Alvin and the Chipmunks can be challenging.  With the addition of the Chipettes now there are both guy and girl Chipmunks.  In the second movie, entitled, “The Squeakuel” Alvin, joins the football team as the ‘secret weapon’.  On the very last play of an away game, Alvin is used to score the winning touchdown that ‘wins’ the game for the Eagles.  As they carry him off the field, he is placed on top of a football and Alvin’s comment is that he is ‘king of the world’, being exalted as the one who won the game for Eastman High.  Tonight’s passage is taken from Isaiah 52:13, “Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.  Unlike Alvin who was lifted upon the football and exalted as the one who won the game, Jesus Christ is God’s Son and servant Who will be exalted when He is lifted up on the Cross of Calvary for you and for me.

First, Jesus Christ is God’s Son.  We confess this in the Apostle’s, Nicene and Athanasian Creed’s.  Our confession is clear, Jesus Christ is the only Son of the Father and came down from heaven to earth with one purpose in mind, to fulfill the plan of salvation for all of mankind.

Second, Jesus Christ came to fulfill the plan of salvation by serving at God the Father’s pleasure.  As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ came as Romans 13:4 says, as “God’s servant for our [your] good.  Jesus Christ came to fulfill all righteousness and serve at God’s the Father’s pleasure.
Lastly, what was required?  That Jesus Christ innocent Man, Who is God and God’s only Son, will be exalted.  In going to the Cross of Calvary to make atonement for our sins, Jesus Christ humbles Himself and as Jesus reminds us in both Matthew and Luke, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted”.  And Jesus exaltation requires His suffering as a humble servant and enduring the humiliation and dying an innocent death on Calvary for the sins of mankind.  For Jesus Christ is the suffering servant Whom Isaiah prophesied about and our Lenten messages will look deeper at how Jesus Christ is exalted for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel during this Lenten season as our suffering servant.  AMEN. » Excuse Me, You Have Something On Your Forehead

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sermon 02192012 Quinquagesima Sunday

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts, be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer!  AMEN.

Heavenly Father, may Your Word guide us and enable us to see our being chosen as Your children was not chance, but Your divine plan.  For You have anointed us, changed us and made us Yours by and through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  May Your Holy Spirit speak to us and guide us as we chart our course for all of us Saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.
During the last two weeks we have been lost and thirsty and heard how God struck the Rock and provided us drink.  How God feeds us through the sacrament of the Altar like this morning through and by the Word made flesh that has dwelt among us, Jesus Christ.  As we conclude our series this morning, we hear how God chooses a King, anoints him and changes him and us through the power of His Word for His Work.

This May Michele and I are looking forward to the movie, the Avengers arriving in theaters.  For those of you who don’t know this is the Marvel Comic Books that have been made for  the big screen thrillers with hits like Iron Man and Thor.  One of the characters from the Avengers is Captain America.  When first introduced to Steve Rogers in the film entitled, Captain America, he is 98 lbs. sopping wet, scrawny and according to military standards, not even acceptable to be a soldier.  The military personnel see nothing but failure and weakness in Steve, but the scientist who is the major advisor for the project, sees in Steve the keen intellect, the self-sacrifice and especially the heart of a warrior.
In our Old Testament lesson this morning, Samuel like the scientist has the ability given by God to not see the outward trappings, but to see the heart.  We heard how Samuel looked upon the seven sons of Jesse, including Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah, but Samuel looking with the eyes of man like the military looked at appearance, but God spoke to Samuel, because “the Lord looks at the heart” and rejected each of the sons of Jesse.  Finally, Jesse sends for the youngest, the sheep tender.  Now he [that is David] was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance.  This the last of Jesse’s children, had been tending the families flock, he probably hadn’t bathed, was dirty and had been summoned by his father to pass before Samuel.

And what occurs, “And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.  This boy, this child, God looked at his heart and God chose him.  God looked through the outer man and saw in David, the shepherd and the King that he would become.  God looks at us as well.  God see’s through our designer clothes our bib overalls, our John Deere, Fontanelle, Pioneer, K-State or KU apparel and see’s our heart.  Through the sweat of our brow the Kansas fine dirt, oil or grease that cakes on our face, arms, lips and skin, God penetrates to our soul.  For God Who formed us in our mother’s womb, chooses us!
Samuel then “took the horn or oil and anointed him [that is David] in the midst of his brothers”.  God anointed through Samuel, David to be King.  Just as when we baptize and anoint the head and heart with the chrism of oil in the sign of the cross sealing the child as God’s, Samuel, took the horn of oil and anointed David.  Right in front of his older brothers, this child, God seeing the heart of David anoints him and makes him King of Israel.

As David was anointed in the sight of his brother’s, father and family, “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David”.  God’s Spirit descended upon David and signed, sealed and delivered him to be the King of all of Israel.  God’s Spirit inhabited his heart and would lead David to become the greatest King of all of Israel.  Not only would God’s Spirit inspire David to write the Psalms which we use for our liturgy, God’s Spirit would guide the people to become a great nation.  God made David who he would become, because His Holy Spirit would rest upon him, just as it rests upon us today.  It changed David so profoundly that God foretold David the Messiah would come from his line.  The Messiah that would come to save God’s people would be of the off-spring of David.  David’s life was changed by God and we are grafted into the promise to David, because of our baptism into Jesus Christ Who changes us.
For we who have been baptized have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, baptized into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and we are changed.  As Luther would say, we are still sim ul ustis et pecator – saint and sinner – at the same time, but by the blood of the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the World, God has changed us.  God has redeemed us through His Son, Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection and made us heirs of eternal life.

As heirs of eternal life, we have been chosen, anointed, changed and enabled to worship, work and witness God’s work through our lives.  We come as chosen children to worship our Lord and Savior and partake of His Feast He offers to us that gives us eternal life.  This food of His precious Body and Blood, broken and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins, satisfies our spiritual thirst and hunger and enables us to work as God’s children for His glory, whether here in the church, in the community or in our service to God for His Glory.  This then is the witness we become not only for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ here within the four walls of the church, but also the witness for those who have not heard what Jesus Christ has done for each of us on the Cross of Calvary.  Our witness brings glory to God, for it is Him, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that we come and worship on Sunday, His message that we come to hear proclaimed, His work in worship and the church and our witness for others of God’s choosing us, anointing us and changing all of us saints who gather here at Emmanuel. 
Yet, the question still remains, “What is God’s Plan for Emmanuel?”  God’s plan isn’t a difficult long drawn out set of steps or challenges for us to accomplish, God’s plan of salvation has been completed and we now are empowered to proclaim the message of salvation through Jesus Christ innocent death for each and every one of us.  Through Jesus precious Body and Blood that we receive, we are called by the Holy Spirit to worship, sent out to work in our world modeling the message of salvation that changes us and therefore witnesses of what God’s Holy Spirit has done in each of our lives.  For the promises of God are sure, His Word will not return without accomplishing His purpose and we having been baptized, anointed and grafted into the promise of salvation.  May all of us in unity discern God’s plan for Emmanuel and fulfill it for all of the saints gathered here at Emmanuel, in Goodland, Northwesk KS and our world.  AMEN.

Friday, February 17, 2012

HHS Mandate - The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

This opportunity for Pres. Harrison, makes me proud to be a Lutheran.  Read and watch the video's!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sermon 02122012 Sexagesima Sunday

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Heavenly Father, the rain and snow come in their season and You shower us with Your Grace.  As we come and worship You we come to thank You for Your Grace which You pour out upon us.  For Your Grace feeds us physically, mentally, emotionally and especially spiritually through our receipt of Your Word.  For Your Word frees us and accomplishes Your task of our salvation.  May we continue to be blessed and prosper as we receive Your Word for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

This morning we continue our 3 part series entitled, “What is God’s Plan here at Emmanuel?”  In the movie “Soul Surfer” the main character Bethany Hamilton, has suffered a tragic attack from a shark, losing her left arm. At a point of desperation, she is talking with her youth leader Sarah.  In the conversation, Bethany faces a dilemma that is not uncommon for all of us, why did this happen to her, and what is God’s plan?  And Sarah with divinely inspired words of wisdom, says, “I don’t know why, but something good has to come out of this.”  Encapsulated in those words are a faith in God and what He can, does and will do for each and every one of us.

From our Old Testament passage this morning, Isaiah with a prayer of faith, says, “For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;”.  God provides the rain and snow we receive for a divine purpose.  And not only does He provide the rain and snow, God also provides us His Word.  Isaiah says, “So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth”.  God in infinite wisdom provides His Word for us to hear, read and digest.  But the Word is not only some written document, it especially includes the gift of the Word made flesh that has come and dwelt among us.  We not only have beheld His Glory, Jesus Christ, but we hear the Word on Sunday, and partake of the Meal of His Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar.

For the Word, Jesus Christ came to fulfill God’s purpose here on earth.  It accomplishes the divine task the Word would fulfill.  Simply stated that task was to descend from heaven, become incarnate of the Virgin Mary, become truly Human, suffer on the Cross of Calvary for Your sins and mine and die an innocent death to set all of us free from sin, death and the devil.  And then on the third day, rise from the dead and ascend unto the Father.  This was God’s purpose and plan of salvation for all of mankind.  And God accomplished through Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh our salvation.

Since the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ has accomplished our salvation, Isaiah’s further statement is true, “It [that is the Word] will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.  For in accomplishing God’s task, we, the people of God have not only the benefit of God’s Divine Hand upon our lives, but God’s Word working through us that accomplishes His plan.  Yes, the divine plan is the ultimate plan of salvation that God accomplishes, but for we here today at Emmanuel, like Bethany who dealt with tragedy, asks, ‘what is God’s Plan?’, we to this morning come to God asking for ourselves, “What is God’s Plan for Emmanuel?”

As I have said previously, my goal and intention is not to ‘proclaim’, ‘thus sayeth the Lord’, but to allow God’s Word from scripture to guide us in our conversations.  From this mornings readings, God through the prophet Isaiah is very clear, “My Word will accomplish ‘what I desire’”.  We can take away when we use God’s church and His Word for His glory for His divine purpose of spreading the salvation message of Jesus Christ to and for each of us gathered here today and for all the people in Goodland, North Western Kansas and the United States and World, God will bless us.  This is a large responsibility, but the promise is clear, God will use His Word to accomplish the plan of salvation.  But of the other things in our church and world that we worry over, argue over, discuss and debate, God will inspire and use us for His Glory and will bless us.  What does this look like here at Emmanuel?  I don’t know, but God does and I believe God will bless us, because of the promise that “It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
This is the promise God makes to us through the Work of the Word, His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  For He feeds us daily with His Word and has accomplished for all of us our salvation, may He continue to guide us as we discern where and what God wants us saints at Emmanuel to do to fulfill His Plan for all of Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sermon 02052012 Septuagesima Sunday

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Heavenly Father, when You told Moses to lead Your people out of Egypt, they couldn’t prepare for the trip.  You took them into the Wilderness and they complained that they were thirsty.  Today, we to long for Your guidance in our plans for Emmanuel.  We yearn for Your divine presence to quench our thirst and enlighten us and enable us to fulfill Your plan here among all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

This morning we begin a short 3 part series entitled, “What is God’s Plan here at Emmanuel?”  Please understand my reason for embarking on this series is not to preach on, what ‘I think’ we should do.  My intention is for us to collectively ask God to guide us through His Word, the scriptures and to enlighten each of us as we begin to prepare for our 90th year celebration in December and look back how God has blessed Emmanuel.  It is also my prayer that the scriptures will help us dialogue and lay claim to God’s plan today and enable us to discern the future as a congregation in association with the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.

In our text this morning we heard about the “congregation of the sons of Israel” who had “journeyed by stages from the wilderness of Sin, according to the command of the Lord”.  These people God had sent Moses to lead out of Egypt and be freed from the bondage of Pharaoh.  They are the same ones that God had allowed to cross the Red Sea on dry land and then ‘swallowed up’ Pharaoh’s army that was in their pursuit.  But now, these same people God had delivered from the hand and bondage of Pharaoh “quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.””

The Israelite nation was thirsty, they had been marching for days and were extremely thirsty.  Just like here in Goodland, where water is a precious commodity, the people God had just freed were thirsty and needed water and Moses, their leader was the person they were ready to quarrel with.  But Moses says, your beef isn’t with me, its with God, but “why do you tempt the Lord”?  The God who delivered you from the hands of Pharaoh, defeated the army that came to take you back to slavery, why would He allow you to go thirsty?  Would God not provide for them?  What was the root of the problem, was it ‘lack of water’ or was it ‘doubt in the merciful presence of God’?

So what does Moses do, but go to God and say, “What shall I do to this people?  A little more and they will stone me.  Moses feared for his life and is asking God for deliverance.  Is it a fear for his own safety?  Probably it is.  But it also is a form of faith by Moses in God that He would provide.  What the answer would be, Moses didn’t know, but he had faith that God would provide.

The providence of God is revealed when “the Lord said to Moses, “Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.  Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”  In this passage God affirms the miracle He will perform through Moses of striking the rock for the people of Israel.  The people would be the witness to the miracle God would provide in the water for them to drink.  But fulfilling their thirst is only one part, Moses to remind the people names the place as a reminder of the people’s doubt.  The names given indicate what the people had done, for Massah means temptation and Meribah is strife, so the miracle that Moses performed would forever be linked and be an example of warning during both the Old Testament and New Testament times of the people’s doubt of God’s presence and providing for the Israelite people.

Easily and sincerely we here at Emmanuel could say we have not been freed from bondage from a tyrannical national leader, nor have we travelled into the wilderness only to be thirsty.  Yet, it could be said this story may be a metaphor for Emmanuel!  The situation is not identical, but our doubt during the last few years of the direction of Emmanuel and wondering if God really is present, active and working in, with and through us.  For we have thirsted for God to ‘perform a miracle’ and ‘give us a drink’.  For Emmanuel the story of the people of Israel can inspire us to ask the question, “What is God’s Plan for Emmanuel?”  As I said earlier, I am not going to give my opinion, but I will provide some insight from this story.

God tells this story to highlight for us today our similar state of wondering about His presence with us here in Goodland, KS.  Though we are fallen creatures, just as the Israelite people were, the opportunity is for us to in faith seek God, not to stone the leader like Moses or the Pastor, but to discern the direction God is leading us.  Yes we have been thirsty, but throughout the ministry of Emmanuel, God provided the Word and Sacrament for us to be fed by.  God provided for us His only Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  As we heard the Word of God and ate His Body and drank His Blood as we do this morning, God proves His presence by providing for our physical and spiritual needs.  God in and through His Word and this Meal which is a foretaste of the Feast to come feeds us and works the greatest miracle of His presence in, with and under this Bread and Wine that now is His precious Body and Blood.  We have partaken of this meal to feed and nourish us and as Jesus Himself said to the woman at the well, to be the gift of Eternal life, the Well Spring that will never go dry. Thus, as we are fed the promise of Word and Sacrament God is present with us and in us and transforms us on a daily basis.  May God’s precious gift of His Body and Blood nourish and feed us just as the water did for the Israelite nation as we discern where and what God wants us saints at Emmanuel to do to fulfill His Plan for all of Emmanuel.  AMEN.
//trial script