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Showing posts from May, 2015

No mercy

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In the original Karate Kid movie, the main character entered his penultimate match with an injured knee.  The antagonist’s coach advised his fighter, “Sweep the knee.  No mercy.”  A boxer who sees a gash over his opponent’s eye makes the effort to exploit it to his advantage.
In the fight for our souls, the devil will not stop to exploit every advantage he sees.  Should we be surprised that he fights dirty?  He shows no mercy; he hits us where we already hurt.
Such is the nature of our enemy.  And, that’s the essence of sin and the guilt of sin.  Guilt is an injury to our soul that exposes us to further pain.  Isaiah felt the pain of his sin most acutely in his mouth.  So intense was his guilt that he called woe and ruin on himself.  How could a man like Isaiah speak of the purity of the Holy Trinity when his mouth was so filthy with sin?
In a dramatic scene, an angel touches a coal to Isaiah’s lips, the very place he sensed his sin and guilt most.  “Your guilt is taken away and your sin…

Remain

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Graduation sermon for Shoreland Lutheran High School

John 15:4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Pamela is very much like most of you in the graduating class. She came to our church when she was a little girl. She and her parents didn’t have much religious background before entering the doors of our church. Pamela ate up the Bible stories in Sunday School. She enjoyed learning the memory work in her Christ Light lessons in our Lutheran elementary school. She asked great questions in our confirmation classes together. She had a great and vibrant in her Savior, Jesus Christ. Pamela relished coming to Shoreland. She appreciated the Christian friendships of her classmates. She savored God’s Word being applied in every subject. She cherished praising God in the chapel services. But then time and the devil and her sinful nature got a hold of Pamela. She just slowly gave away …

Can these bones live?

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Ezekiel 37:1-14The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know." 4 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'" 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on the…

Worship Helps for Trinity Sunday

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Isaiah Angels Artist: Gezusfreak
Worship Theme: On this Sunday we celebrate the mystery of God being three-in-one, a mystery he reveals both for his glory and on our behalf. Isaiah rightly trembled at God’s holiness. But to Nicodemus Jesus reveals something even more profound about the Trinity. The Father sent the Son to die in our place; whoever trusts in the Son, by the new birth the Spirit gives, has life with the Trinity forever.
Old Testament:Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 "Woe to me!&q…

You will be Jesus' witnesses

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The two main challenges Christians often express about sharing Jesus with others are 1) knowing what to say and 2) overcoming the fear of saying it. The experience of Jesus’ disciples before Pentecost was not much different.
The day Jesus ascended into heaven he told them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8).  The power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was manifested in “a sound like the blowing of a violent wind” and “tongues of fire” and the miraculous ability “to speak in other tongues.”  Yet, a greater manifestation of the Holy Spirit on that day was worked in the minds and hearts of Jesus’ faithful followers.  
Earlier Jesus told them, “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).  There was the answer to the “what” they were to say.  Jesus said, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send t…

Married to Jesus - Jake and Sara Ivanoski

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. I have seen some wonderful examples of married love throughout my ministry. A husband holding back his wife’s hair as she pukes out her guts from the chemotherapy. A wife taking care of the children, the dogs, and the finances while her husband puts in long hours at work. A husband visiting his wife every day in the nursing home, even though with her dementia she doesn’t know who he is or what she means to him. An elderly widow praying to Jesus to take her home so that she can be with her two beloveds – her Savior and her husband. Jake and Sara, this is the kind of love that we all want for you. A love that is not based on feelings or emotions, but on commitment and faithfulness. A love that takes seriously the marriage promises you make in God’s house today – to be faithful to one another, to cherish each other, to help one another in sickness and …

Worship Helps for the Festival of Pentecost

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Pentecost Melanie Schuette
Worship Theme: Many problems seem unsolvable, but in Christ, our God is the God of the impossible. The day of Pentecost gave clear evidence of the power of the Spirit of Jesus to change things dramatically. Just as dead bones became living, breathing beings in Ezekiel's vision, so people dead in sin become spiritually alive through the message the Holy Spirit has orchestrated and communicated through believers.
Old Testament:Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know." 4 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says…

God's voice in worship

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At no other time or place in our week is the voice of God heard so clearly and forcefully as when we are gathered together in worship. We hear God’s voice in His Word and Sacraments. This is no ordinary voice that we might hear on the phone or in everyday speech. This is the voice of the One who called planets into existence and raised the dead from their graves. We want to prepare ourselves for hearing this voice. That is why we encourage you to make use of the Worship Helps Bible study that is prepared for you every week.

The Scripture readings we used in worship are organized in a three year cycle of readings called the Lectionary. The Lectionary has been used in varying forms for centuries. The Old Testament and Epistle readings are organized around the Gospel lessons. Please use the weekly Worship Helps Bible studies as they make you ready to hear the voice of God speaking to you personally and directly in worship.

Assemble

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John 17:11-19 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name-- the name you gave me-- so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too m…