All posts by Pastor Karl Hanf

My Witness on Giving

Every year I try to get a member to talk about their giving honestly to the congregation.  The ones I ask are not our largest givers, but those that have impressed me by their faithfulness.  I asked one man who had lost his job but throughout his unemployment, with a family, mortgage and all the rest, still gave faithfully to the church. He was forced to give less, which he told me regretfully. Frankly worried, I asked if it was the right thing to do.   He said if he stopped giving it would be like saying God had abandoned him and this is not what he believed at all.  Continue reading My Witness on Giving

Receiving Time As A Gift

The text for this sermon is Matthew 3:13-17.

We are in the midst of the Sermon Series that encourages all of us to reconsider our priorities and commit in 2011 to living full and whole lives of faith.  To do so not only pleases God, but leads to a purpose driven life that is exactly what God hoped for us at our baptism.  Last week, we talked about sharing our talents generously with God’s world.  Today, I want us to think about how we are to consider the time that we are given on this earth.  Continue reading Receiving Time As A Gift

What is your gift to bring to Jesus?

This sermon is based on scripture, Matthew 2:1-12.

He was a successful importer/exporter in Charax in the South East corner of the Roman Empire.  He specialized in spices and scents and made a good amount of gold at it.  What he loved though was astronomy.  At night he would gather about six or seven merchants in the area and they would look at the stars and read ancient texts about them rediscovering what others had written long ago.  Continue reading What is your gift to bring to Jesus?

The Wrong Turns of Christmas

The scripture text for this sermon is Matthew 2:13-23.

A couple of years ago, I had an idyllic start to my Christmas morning.  My kids were older, probably 22 to 18, that age when you look with satisfaction at the kind of adults they are becoming. All of them lived away from home in college dorms or apartments.  Christmas was a homecoming, a new experience for our family. Continue reading The Wrong Turns of Christmas

This Advent, Peace Now!

This sermon is based on the scripture text, Isaiah 2:1-5.

I fussed with the text from Isaiah this week.  Did you know there is a statue of a muscled man beating a sword into a plow outside of the UN building in NY with these words underneath?  These are famous words.  The idea that not only will there be a time in human history where weapons will not be needed, but people will even forget how to make them is inspiring.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?  The thought of it simply makes us pray, come Lord Jesus. Continue reading This Advent, Peace Now!

Come Celebrate With Us, Christ is Born!

Luke 1:46-50,  And Mary said,

  “My soul magnifies the Lord,

  47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

  48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.

    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

    and holy is his name.

50 His mercy is for those who fear him

    from generation to generation.

Come. Bring your family and friends to worship at Messiah in December.  Together we will rediscover the joy of a life lived magnifying the Lord.  The words above that start the song of Mary are as meaningful today as they were for the early church.  They not only celebrate God’s movement in Mary’s life, but because of her faithful yes, God’s movement in all of our lives.  Through the birth of Jesus we can all sing like Mary full of hope and joy. Continue reading Come Celebrate With Us, Christ is Born!

Give Praise To God

This sermon is from the study of Psalm 98.

The Church of England in their catechism teaches that the chief concern of the human is to glorify God and enjoy God forever.  If our Anglican friends are right, this could be bad news for Lutherans, because we don’t do joy well.  We are a little stiff when it comes to the ecstatic praise department.  A firm smile, possibly with a few teeth showing is about as happy as we get on a Sunday morning. If the Church of England is telling me I need to be a cheerleader I have got real problems.  I have no rhythm, can’t clap and honestly look kind of foolish jumping up and down. Continue reading Give Praise To God

All Saints Sunday

All Saints Sunday since the third century has been an important celebration in the Church.  Originally, it was set aside to remember the sacrifice of Christian martyrs.  They were put to death by Roman authorities looking to pin the problems of their crumbling empire on anyone but themselves.  In the early church on All Saints Day they read aloud these martyrs names so they and their sacrifice for the gospel would not be forgotten. Continue reading All Saints Sunday

All Saints Sunday, November 7

It is unlikely that you are an adult in our world and have not been impacted positiviely by someone who has since died. These people encouraged us in our life. Now, they are the saints in heaven encouraging us from beyond. They revealed Christ to us and by their love taught us something about grace.

At Messiah this Sunday, November 7, we give thanks for all the saints that have gone before us. By name we remember those who we said goodbye to as a community. Then, by a beautiful candlelight ritual all of us individually are given an opportunity to remember someone who through their life shared goodness with us. After we light a candle in their name, we will kneel at the altar and feast on the heavenly food, the body and blood of our Lord. Feast with the same food they live on now in heaven, God’s very presence. Wonderful, quiet, reflective music is sung throughout as the lit candles grow and flicker.

All Saints Sunday at Messiah is a highlight of our worship year. Come and share this good gift and bring your family and friends. For, we all have received good gifts by someone who has left us now. Remember them and give thanks this Sunday.
Peace, Pastor Karl