Showing posts from January, 2015

Luther on dealing with demon possession

The Gospel lesson for this Sunday presents how Jesus expelled a demon from a man in the Capernaum synagogue. I have been studying demon possession for this Sunday’s sermon. Here are some of the things that I found about Luther dealing with demon possession:
"Once, during the life of Dr. Martin Luther, a young woman was brought to Wittenberg who was born in the land of Meissen, who was often vexed and tormented by the devil. And a letter was written to blessed Dr. Martin that he should save and rescue this young woman, who was 18 years old, from the evil spirit. When this virgin was brought to Dr. Martin, he asked her at that time whether she could say her faith [the creed]. She answered, 'Yes.' Then the blessed Dr. Martin commanded her to say it. As she now began and came to the article [of the creed] and these words, 'And I believe in Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, our Lord,' she could no longer speak, but the evil spirit began to convulse and torment her. T…

Teaching with Authority

New and improved doesn't always mean that.  As much as the advertisements try to convince us otherwise, the phone we were so excited about last year is now obsolete.  New packages on the same cereal you have eaten for years don't really change what is in the box.  The latest and greatest diet plan will still mean eating less and moving more.
What Jesus was teaching wasn't really new, either.  It was the same old story that had been promised and handed down since Adam and Eve.  But as itching ears and blind guides had adjusted and adapted teachings to suit their needs they had lost what was handed down.  That is why what Jesus shared sounded new.  "A new teaching...and with authority!"

The Devil works hard today to convince us that the consequences of our sin, the mess of this world and the wisdom of the day are just how life has to be.  The Gospel of Jesus breaks into that bleakness and provides something new every morning.  It is still the same old story, but to …

Jesus said, "Come, follow me."


Jesus vs. our apathy

Mark 1:14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 18 At once they left their nets and followed him. 19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
11 people dead. Families torn apart. A city gripped in fear. That’s what happened on January 7 in Paris at the French satirical newspaper, “Charlie Hebdo.” I listened to the news. I felt sad for the families who lost their loved ones. I was angry that evil was once agai…

Worship Helps for Epiphany 4

The Possessed Man in the Synagogue James Tissot
Worship Theme: Why follow him? Jesus shows his glory by his triumph over the devil. In his own day he sometimes did that openly for many to see. He still does it just as effectively but in a less public, less obvious way. Just as his victory made manifest his glory then, so it does now. Just as then, so now, everything is accomplished through his Word.
Old Testament: Deuteronomy 18:15-20 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die." 17 The LORD said to me: "What they say is good. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 If anyone does not listen to my…

Fishing with God's net

Jesus called His first disciples, “Come, follow me. And I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). When we apply that verse to our work within the Church, we admit that each one of us – pastor and lay people – could be more diligent in our fishing.
At the same time, we need to remind ourselves that the results of our fishing excursions are not up to us. “The wind blows where it wishes,” Jesus says in John 3, “and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” In other words, you can’t predict who will be converted or where. And you can’t make anyone become a Christian. That’s up to the Spirit. Our Augsburg Confession picks up on this and states: “Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given. He works faith, when and where it pleases God, in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake.”
When you …

Following Jesus is hard

What would it take to make your team fall apart?  If the star goes down to injury and can't play another game what does that do to your season?  As much as we love the story about an unknown who steps into the star role and leads the team to victory that rarely happens.So what did it mean for the proclaimers of Jesus when the star got put in prison?  People had flocked from Jerusalem to see John and hear him.  Many were baptized.  He was recognized as a prophet.  And then he was gone.  Would the rag tag bunch that Jesus called out of their fishing boats be able to fill in?  That rarely happens ... unless it is Jesus' team.  Then it always happens.  
As Jesus sends his Church to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth he has done it again and again.  Every person with faith in his heart is designed and equipped by God to ideally fill his role as a part of the proclaimers of Jesus' team.  That means you too.  

It is easy to come up with reasons why you are not up to the task…

Jesus vs. ...

The season of Epiphany is about Christ revealing Himself to the world. We will be doing a short 3-part sermon series on the Gospels called “Jesus vs. …”.
Jan 25 – Jesus vs. apathy Feb 1 – Jesus vs. demons Feb 8 – Jesus vs. diseases

Lyrics of Love: Song of Songs

In a society where sexual love is often treated in a coarse or careless manner, Song of Songs is like a breath of fresh air. It teaches that sexual intimacy is a gift of God to be enjoyed by married couples. But even though the Song deals with sexual love, it also directs us to a love that transcends our physical world. Ultimately the Song leads us to a deeper appreciation of Christ’s love for us, his bride.
We have the privilege of having this study on love and marriage being taught by our Shoreland teachers at Epiphany. This study covers the following five lessons: 1. Prelude to Marriage; 2. The Wedding Song; 3. The Notes of Discord; 4. The Song of Reconciliation; 5. The Golden.
Lyrics of Love begins on Sunday, January 25 at 9:15 am.

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening

1 Samuel 3:1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am." 5 And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down. 6 Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am;…

Worship Helps for Epiphany 3

The Calling of Peter and Andrew Pietro Berrettini
Worship Theme: Jesus shows his glory in the kind of people that he calls to serve him and in using the gospel to make them willing to follow him. This Sunday it is the epistle lesson that gives unity to the readings, since all of the other readings deal with specific calls to a full time following that leaves behind secular vocations. Jesus still calls such to the holy ministry. To all however comes the call to follow him with a willingness to abandon everything should faithfulness require it; the calls in these readings bid us have a mindset that has forsaken everything, even when we are not required to do it.
Old Testament: 1 Kings 19:19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother good-by," …