Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do.
‹Benjamin Franklin›
Atlantis: the domain of the Stingray
30Dec
2012
Sun
18:02
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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First Sunday after Christmas

Luke 2:22-40

Christmas I 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Our text brings us forward, 40 days after the birth of the Son of God, 32 days after His circumcision and the day He was given the name Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Now, Mary presents herself in the temple, having brought forth her firstborn, a son, and there she is met by a man named Simeon. He had taken Jesus into his arms and sang what we now use in the liturgy as the Nunc Dimittis.

24Dec
2012
Mon
23:48
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord

Luke 2:1-20

Christmas Eve 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

I have often said in your hearing that the cloths of the Christ-child in the manger prefigure His burial. The message of the cloths is clear for those of us look forward to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. For, as was the custom of the day, bodies were wrapped in spiced linen cloths, and the spices usually included myrrh, before being placed in tombs. We see this happening when the Marys go to Jesus’ tomb to spice up His body, since there was no time to do it properly before the Sabbath—they find the stone rolled away from the tomb and the linen cloths folded neatly on the bench.

19Dec
2012
Wed
23:17
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent III

Luke 1:57-80

Mid-week Advent III 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son...,” the author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote. (Hebrews 1:1-2) He recounts, in few words, the fact that for countless years, God sent prophets to speak His Word to His people—to warn them, instruct them, convict them, forgive them, counsel them, console them, and, most importantly, point forward to the coming of the promise He first made to Adam and Eve: “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

9Dec
2012
Sun
22:40
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Populus Zion

Luke 21:25-36

Populus Zion 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“[W]hen these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Redemption draws near when Christ is present...when Jesus begins to happen and is happening. As we are in the midst of our Advent preparation, we look at Jesus beginning to happen, as we heard on Wednesday, when the Son of God takes on human flesh in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary. You could say, look at the belly of the young maiden from Nazareth, for in there your redemption draws near.

The counter to that is when Christ is not present, redemption is nowhere near. And, let us be perfectly clear, in His omnipresence, Jesus the Christ, in His full humanity and full divinity, is everywhere He wants to be. When I say, “when Christ is not present,” what I mean to say is where Christ is excluded.

5Dec
2012
Wed
21:10
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent I

Luke 1:26-38

Mid-week Advent I Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It seems like a good place to start as we begin our mid-week Advent services. True, “In the beginning was the Word,” (cf. John 1:1) but as we look forward to Christmas and the birth of the enfleshed God, it does us good look to when God became incarnate, when the Son of God, the Word became flesh in order to dwell among us. (cf. John 1:14)

2Dec
2012
Sun
19:04
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ad Te Levavi

Matthew 21:1-9

Ad Te Levavi 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prepare...

October had barely started, and the store aisles were being set up for Christmas. Even before Halloween, this or that corner of the big box stores were littered with red and green, silver and gold. Of course, right next to it were all of the fall harvest colors—the oranges and browns. Candy corn and candy canes side by side. And this set-up seems to happen sooner and sooner year after year.

Thanksgiving came, and no sooner did the annual parade end that the stores were opening with huge sales and door buster deals. Usually, these kinds of things are reserved for Friday. It started out with a few stores, opening at their regular hours, then a few more stores joined in the “festivities” and they opened earlier and earlier. Friday wasn’t enough; Black Friday spilled into Thursday. Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday followed, but the big boxes have extended Black Friday into the following week, even to the end of November. No longer do Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have anything to do with any particular day, but with the events themselves. And these events seems to go on longer and longer year after year.

22Nov
2012
Thu
18:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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National Day of Thanksgiving

various scripture references

National Day of Thanksgiving 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Countless times we have heard the story of the ten lepers. Jesus and His disciples were traveling through Samaria, through no-man’s land. Approaching a village, they are approached by ten men with leprosy. They cry out to Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” They didn’t call out with the usual cry to stay away since they were unclean. However, having heard of Jesus, they knew He could make them clean. “Go, show yourselves to the priests,” Jesus replies. On the way, all ten are made clean and would be declared as such by the priests, allowing them to return to their regular routines and lives. However, one of the ten, realizing that he was clean, returned to Jesus to thank Him; the priests could wait—Jesus had done to this man what he believed Jesus could. (cf. Luke 17:11-19)

Countless times we have heard as St. Paul exhorts Timothy, and by extension, Timothy’s hearers, to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all men, for kings and all who are in authority. For one thing, with regard to kings and those in authority, they would not be kings or have authority apart from God granting it to them. God gives government so that all people can live a quiet and peaceable life—so that believers can do so in godliness and reverence to Him. For another, with regard to all men, including kings and those in authority, we are to give thanks because God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-14)

Countless times we have heard as God briefly recounts Israel’s past as they are about to enter Canaan. “Remember,” God tells his chosen people; “Remember the LORD your God who led you through the wilderness these 40 years out of the land of slavery.” Through those 40 years, their clothes and shoes did not wear out, and God provided them just enough manna and quail to survive one day to the next. This He did to teach them that “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that process from the mouth of the LORD.” And why? Because He was about to bring them into a good land flowing with brooks and springs of water, land filled with wheat and barley and vines and figs and pomegranates and olive oil and honey. God’s chosen people were about to receive much more than they could have ever imagined after 40 years of want and destitution. And God says, “When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.” (cf. Deuteronomy 8:1-10)

11Nov
2012
Sun
22:14
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Third-Last Sunday in the Church Year

Mark 12:38-44

Third-Last Sunday B Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus talks about two types of people in today’s Gospel: the scribes and a widow.

The scribes were men who were trained in the Scriptures; “teachers of the Law” the Bibles in your seats call them. You could say these were the Pharisees’ right-hand men, their apprentices...they were practically Pharisees—so much so that they were often mentioned together in the same breath: “scribes and Pharisees.” They liked to put on a show, much like the Pharisees: they “desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,...and for a pretense make long prayers.” Jesus points out their hypocrisy.

Then, there’s the widow: she had very little. Jesus sat with His disciples watching people make their temple treasury donations. Those who were rich put in much. Then, the lowly widow happens by and puts in her 2 cents: “two mites, which make a quadrans.” Her two mites probably didn’t amount to a penny; nevertheless, it was all that she had. While the rest of the people gave a portion of their earnings—most probably keeping in line with the standard tithe donation—the widow gave all the money she had to the temple, keeping nothing for herself.

What can we take away from this?

28Oct
2012
Sun
21:36
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Festival of the Reformation (observed)

Matthew 11:12-19

Reformation 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

The kingdom of heaven suffers violence as the violent take it by force. However, as you read the Gospel accounts, there appears to be little in the way of violence with regard to what the kingdom of heaven suffers or how it is taken. Jesus walks on earth and is relatively unscathed only until He allows Himself to be captured, beaten, and crucified. Until Jesus’ time had come, we read only of those who sought to stone Him and throw Him over the cliff, but failed—no account of a scraped knee, lacerated members, broken bones, bloody nose, or black eye; no account of battles and wars. Jesus walks around and teaches wherever He goes, healing the infirm, raising the dead to life, and forgiving the sins of the people.

21Oct
2012
Sun
22:29
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 10:23-31

Pentecost 21B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today’s text follows last week’s text, and in truth, found it’s way into last week’s sermon. As a result, what you hear today will, in some parts, be a rehash of what you heard last week. This is not all bad; as children often need to hear the same things over and over again from their parents, so children of the Heavenly Father need to hear the same thing from Him over and over again.

30Sep
2012
Sun
18:39
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 9:38-50

Pentecost 18B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It was not possible for the disciples to cast out the mute spirit from a man’s son. Jesus does it after coming down from the mountain and teaches that He accomplishes much and that faith in Him saves. Then, the band travels by themselves to Capernaum; along the way, the disciples argue among themselves on the topic of greatness—which of them is the greatest among the twelve. Jesus teaches them the greatest is the least and servant of all. Then, John speaks up, perhaps the most gentle among the disciples—the disciple whom Jesus loved—it would seem he tries to make a good impression on Jesus, to show Jesus just how much of a servant he is.

“Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” Jesus responds, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.”

16Sep
2012
Sun
23:48
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 9:14-29

Pentecost 16B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John up to the top of a mountain. While they were there, the rest of the disciples were approached by a man whose son was possessed. So violent was this spirit, that it would throw down the man’s son into convulsions, including foaming at the mouth, gnashing his teeth, and becoming rigid. Many times, this spirit caused the son to convulse into water or fire. Today, we might well mistake this mute spirit for epilepsy.

2Sep
2012
Sun
16:24
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 7:14-23

Pentecost 14B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The former director of the Seminary Chorus once told of a time in his past where he was on a plane reading a book on homiletics. The passenger in the seat next to him asked what he was reading. They asked him, “What’s homiletics?” So, he went on to explain that homiletics is the study of preaching—what to preach, how to preach, why to preach, etc. As he was explaining this, a look of confusion developed on their face, and when the director finished his explanation, they asked, “Why don’t you preach from the heart?” “Because I know what’s in there, and it’s not good,” he replied.

26Aug
2012
Sun
19:50
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 7:1-13

Pentecost 13B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The prophet Isaiah recorded these words from God: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men...” (Isaiah 29:13) Today, we hear Jesus quote from Isaiah, these words which are full of Him, these words which He is: “This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

The words of Isaiah were fulfilled in the hearing of the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, though they were most certainly true throughout the history of Judah and Israel, and even into today. It centers around the word “tradition,” and all the baggage that it carries.

19Aug
2012
Sun
19:24
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

John 6:51-69

Pentecost 12B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

After putting the topic off, in detail, for the past few weeks, today we can get to the details of the Lord’s Supper, as it pertains to our continuing stroll through John 6.

Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

Feeding on the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood is exactly what we do in the Lord’s Supper, as we eat His body and drink His blood under the forms of bread and wine, respectively. And it is because of this, and especially verses 54-56, just quoted, that when we hear Jesus call Himself the Bread of Life and Living Bread, and when He says, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world,” our first instinct as Christians who confess a real presence of Christ in the elements of the Sacrament is that we would hear Him talking about the Sacrament.

12Aug
2012
Sun
16:05
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

John 6:35-51

Pentecost 11B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

What is bread? What image first comes to mind when the word bread is said? Is it the loaf you can find bagged at the back of Walmart. How about the appetizer placed on your table at the restaurant as you look over the menu? It’s the biscuit on which is placed the sausage, egg, and cheese, the bun on which you place your all beef patty, the slices you pile high with tuna, chicken, or egg salad, the roll with which you mop up the last bit of gravy or salad dressing, and the tortilla in which you place your beans, meat, cheese, and salsa. It’s a filler food—white, wheat, multi-grain, gluten free, what have you.

Bread is a staple food; it has long been seen as such. It is given by God, granted to all people alike, be they good or evil, but it is a food for which you have to work, as all First Article gifts are. As the curse pronounced to Adam went, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread...” (Genesis 3:19a), even as St. Paul wrote, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10b) Bread is a staple food, but much hard labor is required to obtain and enjoy it.

5Aug
2012
Sun
15:32
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

John 6:22-35

Pentecost 10B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The people in today’s text are guilty of two errors. These are errors as old as time since the fall; errors which still plague us to this day. Before we get there, though, it serves us well to reiterate the back story.

29Jul
2012
Sun
14:59
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 6:45-56

Pentecost 9B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear saints assembled in the nave of Christ Our Savior, the Ark which is the Church of God in Elizabeth, there is much fear and and lack of understanding in today’s Gospel. It’s a picture we are given of the Church, with her hardness of heart, and Her Bridegroom who is always faithful to her, to bring her comfort and calm her fears.

15Jul
2012
Sun
14:25
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 6:14-29

Pentecost 7B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

So, Jesus sends His twelve out in pairs. They go from town to town, staying in one person’s house or another, some towns rejecting their message, others receiving it. And, once again, let me be clear, the message is not theirs—these twelve are simply messengers, sent to proclaim the Word of God—they were sent to preach that people should repent.

27Jun
2012
Wed
09:48
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Service of Prayer and Supplication

Isaiah 43:1-3a; Matthew 24:32-35

Service of Prayer and Supplication 0627 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It is easy to look around us and ask, “Why?” “Why is this happening?” “What has happened that we are being inundated with flames and smoke and ash?” The simple, short answer is that these things God has sent to bring us to Him, to remind us that we must rely only on Him for all that we need, most especially forgiveness and salvation.

24Jun
2012
Sun
08:30
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Presentation of the Augsburg Confession (observed)

Articles I-IV of the Augsburg Confession; John 15:1-11

Presentation of the Augsburg Confession 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term “person” they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.
Also they teach that since the fall of Adam all men begotten in the natural way are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God...and that this disease, or vice of origin, is truly sin, even now condemning and bringing eternal death upon those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost.
Also they teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that there are two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably enjoined in one Person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men. He also descended into hell, and truly rose again the third day; afterward He ascended into heaven that He might sit on the right hand of the Father, and forever reign and have dominion over all creatures, and sanctify them that believe in Him, by sending the Holy Ghost into their hearts, to rule, comfort, and quicken them, and to defend them against the devil and the power of sin. The same Christ shall openly come again to judge the quick and the dead, etc., according to the Apostles’ Creed.
Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight.
17Jun
2012
Sun
18:59
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Third Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 4:26-34

Pentecost 3B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It’s that time of year again. Depending on where you are, as you drive down this street or that, you’ll see banners on the properties of many churches across the country advertising their Vacation Bible School program, inviting parents to sign their children up for a week of fun with Jesus. In many cases, the program is sold to parents as a place to drop their kids off and be without them for a week—more a vacation for parents than for the children, I suppose—some planners have even designed their programs for this purpose.

27May
2012
Sun
18:14
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Pentecost

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Pentecost B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

Welcome to Pentecost, the Feast of Booths, the Church’s birthday, the day appointed by the Christ when He said to His 11, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) It was on that first Pentecost, when Jews from all over the world were gathered in Jerusalem for the feast, and Jesus’ disciples—His apostles—were gathered together in once place, probably that same upper room from Maundy Thursday, and as Jesus had told them would happen,

[S]uddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:2-4)
6May
2012
Sun
17:02
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fifth Sunday after Easter

John 15:1-8

Wordle Easter 5B 2012
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

She goes off to a solitary place and lets out a blood-curdling scream. He goes off to the range and empties a handgun’s clip in no time flat into the paper target. She kicks her husband and the kids out of the house and sets herself to making the kitchen and dining room spic and span. He goes out to his shop and makes 15 bird houses out of every last bit of scrap wood he has. They go to the studio where she throws some clay on a wheel and makes a vase, while he throws paint on a canvas and calls it art. These are but a few of the ways people find to vent—both destructively and productively. Venting is very cathartic.

29Apr
2012
Sun
16:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fourth Sunday after Easter

John 10:11-18

Easter 4B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear listeners assembled in the sheep pen of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Jesus said,

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep...Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.

He has laid down His life for the sheep, dieing the death due the sheep on the tree of the cross. He has taken it up again, risen on the third day. This is good news for you, for you are a sheep of His fold. He has died that you would not have to, suffering the full wrath of God in your place with every last bit of your sin, and gives you the benefits of His death and resurrection—namely, forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation—sealed to you personally with the sign of the cross made on forehead and heart with the waters of Holy Baptism whereat He called you His own—His own sheep, His own child, His own brother and fellow heir of salvation.

8Apr
2012
Sun
09:24
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Resurrection of Our Lord

Mark 16:1-8

Resurrection B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away.”

Dear saints of God assembled here: Hallelujah! Christ is risen! [He is risen, indeed! Hallelujah!] The sight that the women who went to the tomb saw is the sign to you that He is risen, and that His resurrection is victory over sin, death, and the devil, and over all dead religions.

5Apr
2012
Thu
01:06
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Maundy Thursday

John 13:31b-35

Maundy Thursday B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

As we conclude another Holy Week, we find ourselves at Holy Thursday, the night on which Our Lord was betrayed and on which He instituted the Sacrament of the Altar—that foretaste of the feast to come. Traditionally, this day was given the name Maundy Thursday. It gets this name from another event that happened on this most holy night, which we heard in this evening’s Gospel lesson: “[M]andatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos ut et vos diligatis invicem;” or as our ears are accustomed to hearing: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

Maundy is from the Latin mandare, or as we heard from verse 34 above, mandatum. We get the word mandate from this root. On this most holy night, Jesus gave His disciples a mandatum novum—a new commandment, a new mandate: love one another.

1Apr
2012
Sun
00:37
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Palmarum

John 12:20-33

Palmarum 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus’ mother approaches him at a Wedding in Cana. The people of His hometown sought to arrest Him. The listeners at the temple sought to arrest Him, too. In all three times we are told that Jesus’ hour had not yet come. It was not time for Him to do the thing for which He was sent.

There was a time when a boy was born in Bethlehem. God placed a light to guide some Gentile sages from the east to the place where the child was. The Word and the light take them to the house where Jesus was, and they bow down and worship Him. Today, once again, we hear of Gentiles who have traveled to see Jesus. They find Philip, who tells Andrew, and these two tell Jesus. Hearing of them, Jesus says, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.”

25Mar
2012
Sun
22:18
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fifth Sunday in Lent

Mark 10:32-45

Lent 5B 2012 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

What is glory? Or, perhaps to put that into terms that make more sense, to interpret “glory” for a corrupt and sinful generation, what is greatness? You’ll hears answers like power and popularity, prestige and honor, possessions and property. To the world, these are the defining marks of greatness—of glory.

It has been the bane of humanity for countless ages and generations. “You’ll be like God,” the serpent told Eve, so she took some fruit, ate of it, and gave some to her silent husband standing beside her. (Genesis 3:5-6) And so began this downward spiral of man trying to be like God, man reaching for glory and greatness, man defining glory and greatness by his achievements.

11Mar
2012
Sun
23:25
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Third Sunday in Lent

John 2:13-25

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

“LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells,” the Psalmist wrote. (Psalm 26:8) To confess this is the confess a specificity to the locatedness of the Creator of the Universe. There is a place where God is, a place in His creation. There is a location that you can point to and know that God is there.

To confess as much is also more than an acknowledgment of this locatedness of God, but also an earnest desire for it. “LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells.” It is to say, “I love that You are among us, O God, that there is a place I can go to to be in Your presence, that there is a refuge where You are where I can approach you to seek respite from this weary world and forgiveness for all of my sins. In this, this place and in the forgiveness of sins, is where your glory dwells.”

And so the Psalmist also wrote, “[Z]eal for Your house has eaten me up.” (Psalm 69:9a) This locatedness of God among man is something to be treasured, to be zealous for. There, in God’s presence is sanctuary and relief. There, in God’s presence is forgiveness and life. And this place was the Temple of YHWH in Jerusalem, the center of all worship for the Hebrews and the Jews who would follow, and the place that would ultimately be summed up and reduced to the flesh and blood of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ. Who would not hold such a place in high esteem?

4Mar
2012
Sun
22:01
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Second Sunday in Lent

Mark 8:27-38

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

“Who do men say that I am?” Jesus asked His disciples. It’s a fair question. The identity of this carpenter’s son from Nazareth had largely been kept a secret throughout the region, and especially as they neared Caesarea Philippi, perhaps as far away from Jerusalem as He had been in His ministry. And the report comes in: “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”

26Feb
2012
Sun
21:34
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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First Sunday in Lent

Mark 1:9-15

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

“Lead us not into temptation,” we pray, and God tempts no one. Yet every one of us has been tempted, even the God-man, Jesus Christ. When we pray the petition, we’re not praying that temptations be done away with, but that they would not lead us astray, into “false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice.” Many a theologian has also suggested that temptations are beneficial, that God allows them for our benefit; after all, “[A]ll things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

22Feb
2012
Wed
21:06
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ash Wednesday

various texts

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

“All mankind fell at Adam’s fall, / One common sin infects us all; / From sire to son the bane descends, / And over all the curse impends,” Lazarus Spengler wrote in the 16th century. Our hymnal states that he had Romans 3:12, though Romans 5:12 seems more appropriate, I would suggest that He also had Genesis 3:17-19, especially for that first verse. There, God says to Adam:

Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. 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.
26Jan
2012
Thu
20:59
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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St. Titus (on the occasion of a circuit pastors' conference)

Titus 1:9

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

“For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”

Dear assembled brothers of the Denver Southeast Circuit, these words of Paul to our predecessor in office, St. Titus, should ring as words of encouragement and warning to us. I say this not in a “sign-of-the-times” way, for these words ring true, no matter the era we have found ourselves in, no matter the season, no matter the circumstances that present themselves to us. Today’s text is not merely appropriate for the us-versus-them mentality we find our Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in these days, for we have found the us-versus-them mentality no matter the days the synod has found itself in.

6Jan
2012
Fri
22:12
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Epiphany of Our Lord

Matthew 2:1-12

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

The tale begins about some 600 years before. Judah is taken captive by Babylon. It was the third year of the reign of the king Jehoiakim, and King Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem.

And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego. (Daniel 1:2-7)
1Jan
2012
Sun
15:44
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Circumcision and Name of Our Lord

Luke 2:21

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

The Evangelist St. Luke serves as our guide for Advent and Christmas. From him, we hear of the birth of the Savior in the town of David. And, being the vigilant physician that he was, he was never short on details. Even in the silence, St. Luke gives us details.

You may recall the Christmas narrative from St. Luke’s second chapter. The first 20 verses are all about the birth of the King of kings in a lowly stable outside of Bethlehem. Angels appear and announce the birth to shepherds who were in the same country that night. The shepherds go to find the baby, just as it had been told them, wrapped in swaddling cloths. Then, they leave and tell everyone they know what had happened. And did you notice the one thing missing in all of that? The Child is nameless.