Showing posts from October, 2011

Christ's Love, Our Calling - Different Gifts, Same Grace

Over the past month we have focused on Different Gifts, Same Grace. We have preached God’s Word on the subject. We have taught God’s Word with this emphasis. Now, as a congregation of Christians, we can be confident. Why? The Lord promises us that “faith comes from hearing the message” (Romans 10:17). We can be confident that the faith of our Epiphany family has grown. Jesus makes us this promise: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We are connected to Christ! We are fruitful through Christ.

You now hold an opportunity in your hands to exercise your faith and bear fruits for Christ. What sort of fruits? The careful use of the talents God has given you. Jesus is the head of the body. As the Church’s Head, Jesus gives every one of His body’s member’s talents and abilities. We use them to God’s glory. We bury them to our shame. We use them to promote the salvation of our fellow m…

I appreciate your appreciation!

It’s October, which means it is Pastor Appreciation Month.

The Zarling family thanks you for the appreciation you showed us with your generous gifts. I wanted to take this opportunity, though, to ask, “Why do you appreciate your pastor?”

It’s not because he’s well liked, has a good personality or is a snappy dresser. It’s not because he’s good with kids or tells funny stories. Hopefully, I am all those things.
But you shouldn’t appreciate your pastor because he’s likeable in any way. In fact, your pastor may well be someone you can’t stand at all. Maybe you even pray that he takes a call somewhere else.

And yet, you still appreciate him.


Because your pastor is the one chosen by God to be in this place at this time to administer God’s Means of Grace in Word and Sacraments to God’s people. He’s the one called by God, through you, to stand in the place of Christ for you. Though you may hear the pastor’s voice, it is really the voice of Christ delivering the holy words of God in Law an…

The Gift of Teaching for Body and Soul

Pentecost 19
Acts 18:24-26
October 23, 2011

Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus.He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.He began to speak boldly in the synagogue.When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

Sometimes teachers get a bad rap.After all, they get benefits and pensions that are better than the average business offers, and a teacher gets them for only working about 7-1/2 hours a day and having their summers free.And...what’s so hard about teaching?Anyone can do it.I’ve heard it said that pastors who can’t hack the grind of the parish ministry end up teaching in a school.I guess that makes me a failure as a pastor.
In one of the Mission: Impossible movies, …

Not Alone

Funeral for Adolph Wagner

Romans 14:7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8 If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
On June 3, a headline on the online news service declared, “Man Dies All By Himself.” Was the story about a forgotten movie star, or some homeless individual, or a hiker who had taken a climb beyond his level of expertise? It was the kind of headline I had to investigate.
Clicking on the link produced a large picture of a hollow-cheeked old man. Above his head, in very large letters were the words, “Man Dies All By Himself.” There was no article, nothing to explain the picture. Then it clicked. The man who had died all by himself was Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the man who had helped terminate the lives of over 130 people. He helped them kill thems…

You are Rich

Why do Lutherans begin almost every worship service with Confession and Absolution? Christians need the regular cycle of confession and absolution because every Christian still has apowerful sinful nature that leads us to commit many sins every day.We need Christ’s forgiveness and God’s mercy all the time.
Romans 4:7 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
To qualify for bankruptcy, you have to admit you are broke. And to go to heaven, you have to admit you are hellbound. That’s a tough one. Not easy for a decent guy to admit he’s a sinner. Hard for a pretty good girl to confess spiritual destitution. If we are saved it is because God rescued us and not because we learned to swim.
In order to appreciate the glories of heaven, you must first feel the flames of hell licking at your feet. In order to appreciate being called a child of God, you must first hear that you were born as and often live as a slave of Satan. In order to appreciate God’s ful…

Be Strong and Courageous Leaders

Joshua 1:1-9After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 2 "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-- to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates-- all the Hittite country-- to the GreatSea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let …

Using What God Gives Me for His Glory

Exodus 36:1 So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded." 2 Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. 3 They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4 So all the skilled craftsmen who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left their work 5 and said to Moses, "The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done." 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: "No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary." And so the people were restrained from bringing m…

Encouraged to encourage

1 Samuel 2:18-21 But Samuel was ministering before the LORD-- a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, "May the LORD give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the LORD." Then they would go home. 21 And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.

Her tear stained cheeks told her complicated story of emotional pain. How she dreaded the time of year to journey to the Lord’s house for the annual festivals—not because she didn’t want to worship her Lord, but because each time she went she was confronted with the reality of her barren womb. She was constantly confronted with the emotionally taxing fact she had no little sprouts to contribute to the family tree…