Category Archives: Sermons

Christmas Eve-Welcoming Jesus

How well do you welcome visitors that come to your home? No one and I mean no one welcomes people better than our dog, Lilly, loves when people come to visit. We don’t even need a doorbell, because Lilly’s sole function in life is to sit easily by window waiting for the next visitor to come. She has a table, almost like a throne, that she sits on to look out for anyone who might come and visit her. All she really hopes to see is someone entering the house. When she sees someone she barks with a joy that we don’t hear any other time. She does something that can only be described as a bark of excitement that turns into a squeal. She wags her tail so violently, I am sure she will wipe out everything in its path. Her body bends in half with joy and excitement, as she does not take her eyes off the person walking in the door. When the person reaches the stairs, Lilly, jumps off the table and waits inches in front of the door waiting for that door to open. When the person enters the house, Lilly greets them by jumping up and down with a look that says, “pet me, pet me, please!” Next she bends her body in half and does a strange wiggle dance with my boot in her mouth, pleased as a peach with herself. Lastly, she smells them as a way of paying them the highest compliment, they smell as good as the best rotting piece of fish in the creek behind our house she wants to say. Except for this one thing, she tends to ransack people’s bags looking for food. Ladies watch out because more than a piece of gum or two have vanished out of the satchels and into the little mouth of Lilly. But, Lilly loves to welcome people into our home (or should I say her home).

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This Advent, a radical vision of Hope

In our 2nd reading from Romans, Paul is nearing the end of his letter to the Christians in Rome. He is giving them many encouraging words by telling them that they should welcome everyone in the name of Christ. He tells them over and over again in this text that they should live in hope.

What type of hope is Paul talking about? Is this a hope for a more successful and prosperous life? Or maybe this a hope that I will get what I want for Christmas? Or maybe this is a hope for my Chicago Cubs long, long, long awaited World Series victory?

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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

Who sets us free?

I recently visited the famous civil war battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. My wife and I drove around looking at all the monuments and plaques from one of the most famous battles of the war. It’s almost unbelievable to think about how many people were involved in the horrific struggle that divided a nation. You don’t need to be a history major to know that one of the major dividing (maybe the largest) point in the war was over slavery. This issue literally divided a nation. Not just a family or two here and there, but families all across the country were divided. Slavery was on the hearts and minds of people during this time period.

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A Special Reformation Sunday

If you are a dyed in the wool Lutheran you know, next week is Reformation Sunday.  It is the day Protestants traditionally celebrate Martin Luther’s 16th century reforms of the church.  This year at our 11:00 service, we have some special guests that will help us recast Reformation Sunday in a different light.  Our neighbors St. Pius, brothers and sisters in Christ and partners in ministry at Joseph’s Coat, will worship with us.  They are sending their Chancel Choir to join with our own for a wonderful 60 voice choir this day.  Further, their Senior Pastor, Monsignor David Funk will come and lead us in liturgy and prayer.   11:00 next week, October 31 will truly be a good and even historic worship for Messiah.  Don’t miss it.

A Story About Humility

This sermon is based on the parable that Jesus told found in Luke 18:9-14.

We are working hard at Messiah planning for Reformation Sunday which makes the thing that happened here last week almost tragic.  Our Synod office called to announce a contest they are holding for this year’s Reformation Sunday.  They want to crown someone from our churches Most Lutheran 2010 at a special worship service next Sunday night.   They called to ask that we send a bio on our candidate by Friday. Continue reading A Story About Humility