You can pretend to be serious; but you can't pretend to be witty.
‹Sacha Guitry›
Atlantis: the domain of the Stingray
22Dec
2010
Wed
21:30
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent IV

various scripture references (Luke 2:7, 12; John 1:14)

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
15Dec
2010
Wed
17:17
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent III

various scripture references

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

This past Sunday, we heard Helmut Thielicke compare Christ's cradle with His cross. "They are of the same wood," he said. God came to earth and was born to be placed in a simple, wooden cradle later to be put to death on two simple, wooden beams. The manger is to be reminiscent of the cross of Christ, and we are to mark the suffering that took place at both.

8Dec
2010
Wed
16:57
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent II

various scripture references

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths...

It's no secret that babies like to be swaddled. It keeps them stilled and gives them a sense of security. Many say it is reminiscent of being in the womb, where space is limited and one would hardly be able to move.

1Dec
2010
Wed
16:40
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent I

various scripture references

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

People need a shepherd. Any lengthy reading of Scripture will reveal this. People are prone to wander away from center, following their own little thoughts as they come, chasing after their own dreams, and changing those chases as the dreams change. They go where they want, with little to no regard for what is actually true and right. People are sheep; listen to Isaiah: "All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way..." (Isaiah 53:6a) Never mind the myriad passages that tell of God coming to His people as shepherd, often railing against those who are set up as shepherds of the people—the priests and teachers—those who were to lead the people by God's word and keep them focused on Him. People need a shepherd...you, dear sheep, need a shepherd.

28Nov
2010
Sun
16:28
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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First Sunday in Advent

Matthew 21:1-11

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"Behold, your King is coming to you," Zechariah was given to say.

On Thursday after church, the kids and I watched the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. As always, the parade ended with a man dressed in red with a white beard riding a float. And, as always, the announcer gives the obligatory proclamation that the end of the parade signals the beginning of the holiday season. With Thanksgiving, we enter the "Christmas Season," or so we are told.

23Oct
2010
Sat
15:54
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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A Wedding Sermon

Ephesians 5:22-33

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Andrew, Shannon, normally wedding sermons are meant to be preached first the the couple being married. However, I know that while you may be hearing the words that are coming out of my mouth, you are probably too caught up in the moment to be listening to them, taking them in, understanding them. That's alright; you'll be getting a copy of this to read later, should you so desire.

3Oct
2010
Sun
14:59
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 17:1-10

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

YOU BROOD OF VIPERS! You go around claiming you keep the law and have Abraham as your father, but you act like children of the devil! You present yourselves as being righteous before God, yet you don't even keep the commands and statutes of the Lord. You lift yourselves up as an example of righteous living, yet others can plainly see that you do not live in accordance with your own standards, or those of God. REPENT! PRODUCE FRUIT IN KEEPING WITH REPENTANCE. (cf. Luke 3:7-8)

12Sep
2010
Sun
15:39
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 15:1-10, Ezekiel 34:11-24

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"This man eats with sinners and tax collectors," His detractors cry. "This man, claiming to be holy, claiming to be sent from God in Heaven, claiming to be the Son of God, eats with the most vile and detestable and unholy lot on earth. How can one so holy deign to dwell among and associate with the unholy? It's unheard of. It's reprehensible. It's sacrilegious."

5Sep
2010
Sun
23:16
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 14:25-35

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

And so, Jesus implores us to count the cost. Counting the cost is always a good idea, as Jesus explains. If you're going to build a tower, you're going to count the cost. You figure what the materials and labor is going to cost and balance that against your budget in order to insure that you have enough to finish to job. Otherwise, you'll be mocked as one who began a job you couldn't finish.

29Aug
2010
Sun
23:57
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Mark 6:14-29, Revelation 6:9-11

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Even in death, he prepares the way. This cousin of Jesus who was sent to prepare the way for the Lord, to make straight paths for him, to proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven has come near, was put to death and beheaded by Herod. Now, Jesus is making waves where John once was, and accounts of Him are spreading to Herod. Jesus is doing what John had prepared the way for, so Herod thinks that Jesus is John back from the dead.

22Aug
2010
Sun
18:15
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 13:22-30

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"Lord, are there few who are saved?" It's a valid question, but also a question that has led to heresy and false teaching. And, as with just about every heresy, no matter how well-intentioned, the heresies' answers try to apply logic to faith.

15Aug
2010
Sun
23:17
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord

Luke 1:39-55, Galatians 4:4-7

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

He looks just like His mother...

8Aug
2010
Sun
22:05
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 12:22-40; Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A cursory reading of today's lessons reveal that they are about faith. There is a theme of taking God solely at His word, of full reliance and trust in God simply because He says a thing is so. So, let us dive into them further.

25Jul
2010
Sun
23:23
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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St. James the Elder, Apostle

Mark 10:35-45, Acts 11:27--12:5

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is St. James the Elder. He is sometimes referred to as St. James the Greater or St. James Major; this has nothing to do with his stature among the disciples—though he was one of the three that were part of the inner circle of disciples—he was simply the older of the two disciples named James. He was John's older brother, a fisherman like Peter and once his partner in the fishing business before giving everything up and following Jesus.

Beyond that and despite his place in Jesus' inner circle, little is written of him besides what we heard today. So, for time and eternity, St. James the Elder day has been the day when is read how he and his brother brazenly asked to sit as Jesus' right and left in glory, and Jesus' response to the brothers. Right off the bat this should tell us that this day is not about James, the great faith he had, nor even how great a man he was, any of this being true or not. No, this day is about Jesus.

18Jul
2010
Sun
22:58
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 10:38-42

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was said on Wednesday night that if we had a scheduled day, we would be able to get a lot more done in a day. Whether or not that could be the case, it is an indication that we are a people with something to do at just about every hour of the day. We barely have time to sleep these days. It seems, and it just may be the case, that we are busy people, busier than ever.

11Jul
2010
Sun
15:52
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 10:25-37

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?", the lawyer asks. It's an age old question, isn't it? Oh, the forms always change, but the question is always the same. "What must I do to be saved?" "What can be done to get to heaven?" "What can I do to transcend this mortal coil?" Every one of them seeks a way to move from this life to the afterlife, however that is defined by the one doing the asking or redefined by the one doing the answering. "What can I do to be rewarded with a good afterlife?"

27Jun
2010
Sun
21:29
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Presentation of the Augsburg Confession (observed)

John 15:1-11

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was with the words of the antiphon to our Psalm this morning that the Augsburg Confession was presented to Emperor Charles the V on June 25, 1530: "I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed." (Psalm 119:46)

There was a time when to the world the meaning of the Gospel had been lost. To the church, God was preached as a vengeful and merciless God, always watching for a way to condemn man, and exacting justice (seen and heard almost always as punishment) for each and every sin committed. For centuries, the world had seen cultural and economic decline. The differences in the haves and the have-nots was staggering. Only a few men were educated and knew how to read, and very few of those ever read the Bible. What the church said of God was not true, and almost no one knew any better to say anything otherwise—those that did were executed as heretics.

20Jun
2010
Sun
16:31
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 8:26-39

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

What a strange little event we just heard about. It's so unlike anything else we read and hear about from the Scripture. It is terrifying, not comforting or giving hope (at least, on the outset). It was also weird and terrifying to the people on Genneseret's shore—the Gerasenes.

13Jun
2010
Sun
20:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Third Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 7:36--8:3

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both.

Jesus then asks Simon the Pharisee a question: "Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?" Simon responded: "I suppose the one whom he forgave more."

6Jun
2010
Sun
20:02
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Second Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 7:11-17

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Lord, how shall I meet Thee / How welcome Thee aright? / Thy people long to greet Thee, / My Hope, my heart's Delight! / O kindle, Lord, most holy, / Thy lamp within my breast / To do in spirit lowly / All that may please Thee best.
30May
2010
Sun
23:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Holy Trinity

John 8:48-59

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A crowd had gathered around Jesus, and I suppose many a sermon could begin that way. But, once again, a crowd had gathered. Among this crowd were deriders and those who sought to sully Jesus' reputation—Pharisees and their disciples, scribes and teachers of the law, perhaps some Sadducees. Never letting a situation go without some instruction—these are his people after all, the ones created through Him, the ones He was sent to—Jesus talks to the crowd assembled. He instructs, and some believe. To them that believe in Him He says, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

23May
2010
Sun
22:39
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Pentecost

John 14:23-31

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Before our Gospel lesson begins, Thaddaeus, one of the twelve, asks Jesus a question: "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" Then, as we heard earlier, Jesus gives His response:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, "I am going away and coming back to you." If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, "I am going to the Father," for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.
16May
2010
Sun
16:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Seventh Sunday of Easter

John 17:20-26

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Did you hear Him? Jesus the Christ mentioned you in today's gospel. Hear Him again: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word." He prays not only for His disciples—"I do not pray for these alone," He says—but also for those who hear His disciples words—"but also for those who will believe in Me through their word," He continues. You, dear hearers, are prayed for by the Christ. Soak that in for a bit.

13May
2010
Thu
23:52
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ascension of Our Lord

Luke 24:44-53

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus' time on earth was nearing its end. He was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the virgin Mary and born in a lowly animal stall. He was wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger, a feeding trough. He was circumcised on the eighth day, as was the custom for Jewish boys, as the law prescribed. He lived as a boy in His step-father's house and spent some time in His Father's house. He grew and took up a trade—carpentry. He went to His cousin, John, and was baptized in the Jordan, and the voice of the Father called out, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased;" heard again as He was transfigured on a mountain top. He taught, healed, exorcised, and forgave with an other-worldly authority. He celebrated the Passover Meal, renewing the covenant of forgiveness as He says the bread is His body and the wine is His blood. He then sheds that blood and dies in His body on the cross and is buried. "It is finished;" mission accomplished—He has done what He came to do. On the Third Day, He rose triumphant over the grave; death could not hold God, the creator of life!

All of this for you! Hallelujah!

9May
2010
Sun
21:03
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Sixth Sunday of Easter

John 16:23-33

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We have before us this morning a text on prayer. Right at the beginning, Jesus tells His disciples, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you." Talking to the Father—asking Him for something—is what prayer is. So, let us begin by dissecting what Jesus says.

2May
2010
Sun
19:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fifth Sunday of Easter

John 16:12-22

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father...Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy."

It has been four weeks since we first celebrated the resurrection of our Lord. Given the frail state of the human attention span, that sense of celebration is probably worn pretty thin or gone by now. In this day and age of ever increasing instant gratification we may be thinking that it's time to move on: "Let's get to Pentecost and Holy Trinity. Come on, hurry up and get to Advent and Christmas. Get a move on!"

25Apr
2010
Sun
17:30
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fourth Sunday of Easter

John 10:22-30

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

As our Gospel lesson begins, we find Jesus strolling on Solomon's porch in the temple courtyard. It was the Feast of Dedication, a time we know better as Hanukkah. By this time, Jesus had become pretty well-known: He was the man who taught with authority and healed all manner of diseases incurable by the medicine of that time (some, even of ours) and cast out all kinds of demons. As great as a following He had acquired, so was the reputation He had developed throughout all Judea.

The time, location, situation, and reputation all lead up to the question the Jews ask Him: "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." "Why are you keeping us in suspense? We know who you are. We've seen and heard of what you've done. Why don't you just come out and say it, you're the Christ, the Anointed One...the Messiah." To understand what they are asking and demanding of Jesus, we have to understand what they are expecting of Him.

18Apr
2010
Sun
15:21
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Third Sunday of Easter

John 21:1-19

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

There once was a man in Galilee who was a fisherman. He did not work at this alone, for his brother and at least two friends were partnered with him. One night, he and his partners go fishing. They cast their nets and toil through the night, but catch nothing. Dejected, they return to shore in the morning. After a long night of fruitless work, it must be hard to tend to the necessary chores—harder, at least, than had they caught fish. However, tend to their nets they must, so they clean them and do any mending that they need.

11Apr
2010
Sun
16:58
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Quasi modo geniti

John 20:19-31

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
No Audio
recorder didn't record

Behold the wounds of Christ! He appears to 10 of His disciples in the upper room. He is real; He appears in His flesh and blood, not as some ghastly apparition—He is really and truly present among them—and He shows them His hands and side. He shows them His wounds.

See the back of the Lord, Jesus Christ. See the marks left by the cane and cat-of-nine-tails; the scars left by His torturers. See the deep gashes and cuts and scrapes made by the wooden beam that He carried, if only part of the way.

4Apr
2010
Sun
14:32
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Resurrection of Our Lord

Luke 24:1-12

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

What a week it has been. Jesus rides into Jerusalem, hailed as a king. He is captured by the representatives of the temple, beaten and mocked. He is brought before the Roman governor, found innocent, before Herod, found innocent, before the Roman governor, found innocent, innocent, innocent, then guilty of nothing. He is beaten and mocked again, scourged to within an inch of his life, and ultimately, crucified.

The day was getting late, so the people asked Pilate to have the legs of the three men broken so that they would die faster, so that they would die before the Sabbath. The two criminals on either side of Jesus have their legs broken, but the soldiers find Jesus already dead. His bones they did not break. To confirm that He was dead, one took a spear and pierced His side, and at once, blood and water came forth.

He's dead. He's brought down from the cross. He's covered in spices and oils and wrapped in linen cloths. He's put into a tomb in which no one had yet been buried. A stone is placed in front of the entrance to the tomb. The deed is done.

1Apr
2010
Thu
22:58
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Maundy Thursday

Luke 22:7-20

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Throughout recorded history, the meaning of the word "is" has been debated and questioned. This is not simply a phenomenon in English. The meaning of the word "is" is questionable in any and almost every language.

28Mar
2010
Sun
19:29
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Palmarum

John 12:20-43

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain."

24Mar
2010
Wed
23:28
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Midweek Lent V

Luke 23:26-32

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
No Audio
service canceled due to poor roads

Jesus' journey is near its end. He has been plotted against by one of His own disciples, who conspired with the chief priests and captains of the temple guard. He celebrated His last passover supper with His disciples, fulfilling the Passover as the supper of His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. He prayed earnestly and in much agony, sweating drops of blood. He has been taken prisoner, bound, blindfolded, and beaten. He was tried and convicted of crimes He did not commit, sentenced to death for the crimes—that is, sins—of the people. Now, He is on the way to Golgotha.

21Mar
2010
Sun
19:14
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fifth Sunday in Lent

Luke 20:9-20

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus tells another parable involving inheritance. A man owns a vineyard, leases it to some tenants, and goes off to a far country. The time comes for the harvest, and the owner sends some servants to collect payment. It's only fair—it's his land that they are farming, he's owed payment for its use. Three times a servant is sent to the tenants; three times the tenants beat the servant and send him back empty-handed. Then, the owner sends his son—his beloved son—figuring that he would receive more respect than his servants. On the contrary, the son is beaten and killed. They figure they will get the land if the son is killed.

17Mar
2010
Wed
23:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Midweek Lent IV

Luke 22:63--23:25

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

When it comes right down to it, we can ask ourselves, "are we of the Sanhedrin, are we a Pilate, are we a Herod, or are we a Pilate?"

14Mar
2010
Sun
16:34
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fourth Sunday in Lent

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prodigal: adjective; recklessly extravagant, characterized by wasteful expenditure, lavish.

10Mar
2010
Wed
23:13
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Midweek Lent III

Luke 22:31-62

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tonight's Gospel begins with Jesus informing the disciples that Satan intends to sift them like wheat, to separate them and put them through agony. The "you" in that verse is plural; Jesus is referring to all of the disciples. The time had come, Satan has found his opportune time following his temptation of Jesus in the wilderness some 18 chapters ago in Luke.

But, Jesus has a different plan.

7Mar
2010
Sun
18:01
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Third Sunday in Lent

Luke 13:1-9

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The same question and answer almost always come up when there is some sort of tragedy or disaster. Unfortunately, they are the wrong question and answer.

3Mar
2010
Wed
22:52
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Midweek Lent II

Luke 22:7-23

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

St. Luke is keen to keep us filled in to the urgency of things. Last week, we heard that the Feast of Unleavened Bread was approaching—it was the time for the Feast. At the beginning of this evening's gospel, it was the day of the Feast itself—the day on which the Passover Lamb was to be slain. Then, in verse 14, we are told that it was the hour at which the meal of this Feast took place—the time when Jesus and His apostles reclined at the table. If our focus has gone from a nebulus "time of" to a finer point of "the hour," something special must be happening...something special must be coming.

28Feb
2010
Sun
18:21
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Second Sunday in Lent

Luke 13:31-35

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

You get an idea of the fixation Jesus has in today's Gospel...how fixated He is on you, that is. He is intent on getting to Jerusalem, and there die for you. He is intent on the task of saving you, of giving you victory over death, the devil, and your own sinful flesh, of giving you life everlasting.

24Feb
2010
Wed
23:17
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Midweek Lent I

Luke 22:1-6, John 6:70-71

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Where would we be right now without the plot to kill Jesus?

We heard just Sunday that Satan left Jesus after tempting Him for a more opportune time. Tonight we hear that Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who then conferred with the chief priests and captains in order to betray Jesus to them. The time had come. Satan was going to have his little time with the people and with Jesus...or so He thought.

21Feb
2010
Sun
23:27
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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First Sunday in Lent

Luke 4:1-13

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

As the boys were walking to school, one of them turns to another and says, "I asked my old man about sticking your tongue to metal light poles in winter and he says it'll freeze right to the pole just like I told you." The other boy replies, "Ahh, baloney. What would your old man know about anything?" Later that day, in the schoolyard at recess, we find the boys around a flag pole. A crowd had gathered around them at this point. The first boy looks at the second and dares, double-dares, and double dog-dares him to put his tongue to the pole. The third boy who was walking to school that morning, via adult narration, tells of the progression of dares in his childhood. Suddenly, the first boy skips the all-important triple-dare and goes for the coup de grâce triple dog-daring the second, creating a slight breach of etiquette. Surely, we recognize this scene from A Christmas Story. Flick sticks his tongue to the pole and ends up "thtuck, thtuck, thtuck!"

Recess ends and the crowd returns to their classrooms because, well, "the bell rang."

17Feb
2010
Wed
23:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."

As we begin this 40-day season of Lent, these words ring in our ears this Ash Wednesday. We have received the imposition of ashes, a reminder that we are dust—that we are created out of the same stuff as Father Adam, and that like him, we will return to that stuff.

Then, why do the lessons appointed for this day not speak of this fact? Why are we instead pointed to almsgiving, praying, and fasting? Simply put, it has been traditional in the church for these activities to increase in this season.

14Feb
2010
Sun
19:56
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Transfiguration of Our Lord

Luke 9:28-36, Luke 9:18-27

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here..."

Could you imagine being there? How glorious it must have been! Jesus takes you to be with Him up to the top of the mountain where a most radiant light shines from Him. To top it off, Moses and Elijah appear—only two of the greatest figures in Scripture! "This is cool," someone might say these days. Or, to speak to you kids, "This is phat!" (That's p-h-a-t phat, for you non-youth...it's a good thing, trust me). Or, you could just say what Peter says, and mean the same thing: "It is good for us to be here."

Of course, there have been many more opportunities for Peter or another disciple or follower to say such a thing.

7Feb
2010
Sun
17:30
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany of Our Lord

Luke 5:1-11, Isaiah 6:1-8

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If you were to meet Jesus today, how would you react? If you came face to face with the Son of God, what would you say? Would you recognize Him? Do you even know how to recognize Him? Better yet, what would you do if you found yourself in the very physical presence of God the Father?

5Feb
2010
Fri
16:58
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany of Our Lord

Luke 4:31-44

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It is a familiar saying that John 3:16 is the Gospel in a nutshell; that God loved the world, so He sent His Son. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." We are familiar with the liturgical song, the Agnus Dei which proclaims with the other John that Jesus is the "Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world." St. Paul is keen to tell us that "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself."

24Jan
2010
Sun
19:28
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Third Sunday after the Epiphany of Our Lord

Luke 4:16-30

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I often wonder what it would be like if I were to return to my "home" congregation as a guest preacher.

For a little bit of background, I'll say what I can without trying to boast, because I don't want to boast about it. My grandparents were long-time residents in the Tampa area. My grandmother, in fact, other than spending some time in Virginia after marrying my grandfather, has only ever lived in the Tampa area. They lived there at at time when there was only one Missouri Synod congregation in town. Through the 80s, just about every Missouri Synod congregation since had its origins in my grandparents' house. To say that the Wagner name is known among the Tampa churches claiming to be Lutheran is an understatement.

11Jan
2010
Mon
10:09
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Baptism of Our Lord

Luke 3:15-22, Luke 3:1-9, John 1:19-27

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It doesn't take long in the Christ-half of the Church year for the boy Jesus to grow up. It was just a mere week ago that we marveled at the 12 year-old Jesus in the temple. Just four days ago, the church observed Epiphany, and regressed about 10 years to when Jesus would have been no more than 2 years old, when he was visited by sages from the east.