All posts by Pastor Karl Hanf

Mountaintop Moments

This sermon is based on the Transfiguration story in Matthew 17:1-9.

The day starts just like any other day.  The three heavy hitters of the disciples are heading up a mountain with Jesus, not anticipating at all that this day would be different.  Suddenly, Jesus changed physically in a way that Matthew has trouble explaining.  He glowed so bright it was like looking into the sun.  His clothes became so white it was like you had washed them thirty times in bleach.  Even more amazing two men appeared who Peter, James and John knew instantly to be Elijah and Moses, Old Testament heroes.  They were talking to Jesus, right there in front of them.

Continue reading Mountaintop Moments

Who is my enemy?

The text for this sermon is Matthew 5:38-48.

Who is my enemy?  If you are like me, you might have trouble coming up with a name. I mean, I really don’t have anyone that I would call an enemy. I suppose as an American I have America’s enemies, but even they are harder to pin down.  George Bush tried to give them a name, Islamo-Fascists-Terrorists, but it never caught on.  It doesn’t really roll off of the tongue like commies did back in the good old days. Continue reading Who is my enemy?

Lives of Salt and Light

The scripture for this sermon is Matthew 5:13-16.

I heard a number of years ago about a man that died of a heart attack on an airplane flight. Everyone on board was in a panic.  Some were trying to help the guy, but one man that did not enter the mayhem turned out to be a doctor.  When asked why, he said that malpractice suits being the way they are, he just didn’t think it was worth the risk.  Continue reading Lives of Salt and Light

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!