All posts by Pastor Karl Hanf

Thank You Notes from Pastor Karl

NBC late, late night host Jimmy Fallon, has a Friday night segment called, Thank You Notes. In it, he gives thanks, tongue in cheek, for things he really is not too happy about.  For example, he once gave thanks for a family of five walking down the sidewalk in front of him, s-l-o-w-l-y and side by side so that he had to step off the curb to pass them.  They are usually pretty funny and it got me to thinking what would my pastor, tongue in cheek, Thank You Notes, list look like.

Here is my best attempt. Continue reading Thank You Notes from Pastor Karl

Summer Life at Messiah

At Messiah, life changes in the summer, but we are still a vibrant community.  This summer our Joseph’s Coat Ministry will move to a new location that God is preparing for us now, nearly 100 volunteers will welcome over 200 children for our Vacation Bible School in June, our Preschool will be giving tours and preparing their new all day Kindergarten classroom, our servant work at the food pantry, First English, Rebecca’s House, Faith on Eighth and the Family Shelter will faithfully carry on, people people will gather Wednesday nights for bible study at 6:30 and worship at 7:30, our Volleyball, Golf Scrambles and Softball teams will play, hundreds will enjoy great home cooking at our food booth at the Tomato Festival, thousands will cheer our float at the Reynoldsburg Fourth of July parade, Continue reading Summer Life at Messiah

Paul in Athens

The text for this sermon is Acts 17:16-33.

I want to spend some time this morning in the story we read in the book of Acts.  Let’s start by looking at it carefully.  If you could pull out the scripture insert and follow along with me.

Paul happens to be in Athens because he had caused such a ruckus in Thessalonica that the Thessalonians chased him not just out of town, but even followed him to the next town and chased him out of there, too.  When Paul got to Athens he figured he had lost them and decided to rest and wait for his partners Timothy and Silas.  Paul didn’t come to Athens to start a church, but to hide from some really mad parishioners. Continue reading Paul in Athens

Coming to Faith

The text for this sermon is John 20:19-31.

In the 80’s when Lutherans realized they were shrinking nationally, they reacted with a big push on witnessing.  The thinking, I suppose, if we could just get our people to tell their neighbors and friends about how they came to Jesus, people would choose to come to Jesus with us.  From what I can tell from the numbers, it didn’t work out so great. Continue reading Coming to Faith

Good Friday: It is finished.

It is finished. These are the last words of Jesus in the book of John.  I’ve been thinking of how Jesus might have said these three words.

To state the obvious, Jesus has had a horrific week. Greeted as a Jewish savior when he entered Jerusalem, by Friday he is dying on the cross.  Just in the last twenty four hours he has been arrested, tried, and beaten, mocked and humiliated.  On an instrument of torture he has hung physically exposed, his body aching, his wounds bleeding, his throat gasping for water his life leaving him. Continue reading Good Friday: It is finished.

The Stories and Rituals of Holy Week

Stories make my small world larger and allow me to understand deeper truths about life.   Rituals bring me comfort and mark parts of my life as important.  I love them both, which is good because the churches best tools to communicate God’s love are story and ritual.  At her best, she uses both to draw people closer to God.

The rituals of Holy Week help us enter into the story. We are part of the parade on Palm Sunday and shout with the crowd when we read the Passion.  We share a meal of bread and wine on Maundy Thursday as Jesus did on the night he was betrayed.  We drag a wooden cross on Good Friday as Jesus dragged one down the road to Golgotha. Continue reading The Stories and Rituals of Holy Week

Esther: The Gift of Courage

The text for this sermon is the book of Esther, especially the fourth chapter.

Today, and this week on Wednesday, we discuss courage. To understand courage I want to look at the book of Esther, often overlooked by Lutherans.  Luther did not like the book of Esther because he thought it contained too much “heathen naughtiness”.  We won’t have time for the entire story, all the naughty details, but I encourage all of you to take the 30 to 45 minutes and read it for yourself. Continue reading Esther: The Gift of Courage

Ruth 3: God’s Loving Kindness

This scripture for this sermon is the third chapter of Ruth.

Ruth from the despised country of Moab stays with Naomi her mother in law when Naomi has to return to Bethlehem, even though her husband, Naomi’s son, is dead and she would be better off in Moab than Israel.  This is the loyalty that Ruth has for Naomi, a loyalty born of both love for Naomi, and a kind and generous spirit. Continue reading Ruth 3: God’s Loving Kindness