Showing posts from February, 2015

Why suffering?

The apostle Paul writes in about suffering in our Epistle lesson for this Sunday: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from…

Sounds of the Passion - Ripping Cloth

Pastor Emile J. Burgess                                                      Joel 2:13 - Midweek Lent 2015 Sounds of the Passion
Ripping Cloth
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Jude 2
For centuries, the ripping of clothing was a sign of mourning, repentance, and outrage among the Jewish people. Woven fiber torn from woven fiber. Someone’s labor on the loom lost. The weaver’s work undone. We see the purposeful ripping of cloth many times in the Old Testament. For example, Reuben plans to rescue his brother Joseph, but finds only an empty cistern after his other brothers have taken the initiative to sell Joseph into slavery. Later that day, Jacob tore his robes at the news from his sons that Joseph was dead.
Is it worth it? To ruin a perfectly good piece of clothing just to make a point? To demonstrate your inner distress with a an outward, destructive act? To let the sound of tearing fibers speak when there are no words strong enough? Sometimes, it is worth it. Sometimes it is en…

The Savior in the Old Testament: Jesus & Isaac

Genesis 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" &q…

Worship Helps for Lent 2

Jacob’s dream Gustave Dore 1865
Worship Theme: Lent has to last a while and come around every year if for no other reason than this – that it is so hard for us to get the points made so strikingly in Lent. This Sunday we see God’s seriousness in Lent in this: Salvation and suffering go hand in hand, for Jesus and for us too!
Old Testament: Genesis 28:10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the …

The Savior in the Old Testament

This Lenten season we will examine “The Savior in the Old Testament” with a 6-part sermon series on the Old Testament Scripture readings. Feb 22 – Jesus & Isaac Mar 1 – Jesus & Israel Mar 8 – Jesus & the Commandments Mar 15 – Jesus & the Bronze Serpent Mar 22 – Jesus & the New Covenant 
Mar 29 – Jesus & Zion


Louis Zamperini knew how to take a beating.  Read the book or watch the movie “Unbroken,” and you’ll see what resolve looks like: getting “spiked” by a fellow racer only makes it run faster; it refuses to give up on a life raft in the middle of endless blue; it locks eyes with its torturer in a prison camp.  It’s an inspiring sight when you see someone who’s beaten, but not broken.
But that’s not you. That’s not the Christian life.  There’s quite a difference between Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4 and what he shares with us in Romans 8:31-39.  We don’t “survive” hardship or “endure” troubles.  We have victory upon victory in the middle of them.  We’re not simply unbroken in our troubles; we’re triumphant.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?…

Clinking Coins

Matthew 26:14-16 Then one of the Twelve-- the one called Judas Iscariot-- went to the chief priests 15 and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Sounds can leave a lasting impression. Tonight our thoughts of the passion of Jesus are stirred by the haunting sound of clinking coins – the thirty pieces of silver that were paid to Judas to betray our Lord. The first time Judas heard the clink of coins he had come to the priests with a proposition: “What will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” It was an intriguing possibility. Just a few days before, the priests and Pharisees had decided against trying to arrest Jesus during the upcoming Passover celebration. After all, if they got caught trying to arrest Jesus at the wrong time, a riot could break out, and they’d feel the wrath not only of the crowd, but also of the Roman “peacekeepers.…

Why ashes?

Today is Ash Wednesday. You are invited to EpiphanyLutheranChurch at 5:30 pm for our meal of pulled pork sandwiches, salads and desserts. But more importantly, make time to begin this Lent with a solemn evening of worship at 6:30 pm. We will express our sorrow over sin with the imposition of ashes upon a sackcloth banner.
But why ashes?
Gardeners know that ashes can be used to help grow plants. But basically ashes are worthless. In fact they are often less than worthless - they are a hindrance and a liability.  You can’t make ashes pretty by painting them, and you can’t make ashes smell good by spraying perfume on them. Ashes are just ashes.
And so it is with us - people are just people. When all is said and done, no matter how much righteous paint we cover ourselves with, no matter how much virtuous perfume we spray on ourselves, what we are left with are thoughts and feelings and actions that are best buried and forgotten.
So why do we bother tonight smearing ashes upon a banner? Why d…

Sounds of the Passion

For Midweek Lent we will do a unique series called “Sounds of the Passion.” Lent starts on Feb 18 with Ash Wednesday. Ripping Cloth Clinking Coins Crying Tears Tramping Feet Crowing Rooster Shouting Mob Breaking Bread, Sloshing Wine Pounding Hammer

Let light shine out of darkness

2 Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

In certain movies, it is fairly easy to figure out who are the bad guys and who are the good guys. Many times the bad guys are dressed in black, sinister looking, and even grotesque. In “The Lord of the Rings” you have Sauron, Saurumon, Orcs, Orikai, and the Bellrog, It is fairly easy to see which team they are playing for.
Or think of the “Star Wars” movies. Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and the Emperor. All dressed in black. All very sinister looking. And …