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Rejoice in What God Will Do

The 3rd Sunday of End Times

Rejoice in What God Will Do

Text:  Isaiah 65:17-25

Three years ago on this day of the church year I told you the story of a friend pastor of mine whose young child tragically stopped breathing and died.  I’ve shared other sad stories.  A friend pastor whose baby was born with a hole in the heart and parts of the brain missing.  Former members of our church whose daughter was born a few months ago with hydrocephalus.  She’s currently receiving ground breaking treatment at Duke University.  We have a student in our Preschool that is fighting cancer and a tumor fused to the top of his spinal chord.  On Thursday a man with a gun was shot by police in the newborn wing of the Children’s hospital just down the road from my parents’ home in Milwaukee.  I know other stories.  You know other stories.

A few months ago we included in our prayers our former vicar or intern Jacob Hoff and his family when his mother-in-law passed away after fighting brain cancer for about six months.  A few weeks ago I told you about the pastor in his 60s that died from lung cancer, making a cross over his heart as he took his last breath.  I know other stories.  You know other stories.

Some of you have experienced these sad stories very recently.  A lost grandfather.  Or mother.  Or friend.  A new person with cancer.  A new life-threatening illness.  Another life expected to be too short.  Another life cut short.  Some of you have such stories right now. Read the rest of this entry

Which is Better? Life or Death?

3rd Sunday after Pentecost – Confirmation Sunday

Which is Better?

Text: Philippians 1:18b-26

Intro

Today is a special day for Christ the King.  We haven’t done this before.  Strange enough, in the six year history of Christ the King today is our first ever confirmation Sunday.  We’ve had plenty of adults join our church when standing up here to confirm their unity of belief and dedication to the Lord.  I’m privileged to have taken most of you adults here today through those instructional classes.

We’ve also had plenty of young’uns at Christ the King.  Hence the herd that stampeded down the hallway to children’s church a few minutes ago.  But we’ve never had eighth grade students go through catechism classes and confirmation.  Today, we have our first three.

The practice of catechism classes and confirmation is not something unique to Christ the King.  It’s not even specifically Lutheran.  In fact, the practice is as old as the Christian church itself.  Just before Jesus ascended into heaven he told his disciples, Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing the in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  You heard those words this morning and saw that command carried out with Lucy’s awesome baptism.  But Jesus also continued that command saying, Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing the in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  So Jesus’ disciples and the early Christians began to thoroughly teach everything Christ taught. Read the rest of this entry

The Risen Savior Reassures with a Personal Touch of Power

3rd Sunday after Easter

The Risen Savior Reassures with a Personal Touch of Power

Text: John 21:1-14

Intro

A lot of planning and preparation goes into Easter.  For our church we have 20,000 postcards to design and mail out.  We have a rummage sale and school open house to get ready.  There are Easter eggs to stuff and hide.  There’s a brunch to host.  We have multiple services to prepare for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.  The choir starts rehearsing Holy Week music already in January.  A lot of planning and preparation goes into Easter.

The same is true personally too.  Who are you having over for Easter dinner?  When are they arriving?  When are they leaving?  What are you going to eat?  What nice outfit are you going to wear for Easter Sunday?  Can you roll out of bed in time for the sunrise service or will it have to be the late service?  How early do you let your kids start eating their Easter candy?  How long can you put up with a sugar rush?

All that planning and preparation, energy and effort for only one day.  And what a day it was!  Easter was awesome!  The services were festive and uplifting.  The music was powerful and lively.  The food was terrific.  Everyone was smiling and happy.  Our joy was about as high as could be!

Then just like that, Easter was over.  It was done and gone.  Then what?  Well I followed my tradition of every year and went golfing on Easter Monday.  Then I went to the beach with my family.  What did you do?  With Easter over, now what?  Time to sit back and relax?  Back to life as usual?  Time to go fishing? Read the rest of this entry

I Will Sing

Easter Festival Service

I Will Sing

1. Because the Lord is my strength
2. Because the Lord is my salvation

Text:  Exodus 15:1-13, 17-18

Intro

We live in the United States of America—the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We cannot fathom what it is like to be a slave.  We read about the Civil War and we watch movies on the Civil War.  But this many generations removed from the 1860’s, we don’t really know what it was like.  Slavery is something that we haven’t experienced.

I.

Not for a few decades or for a hundred years in America, but for 400 years the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt.  It was merciless slavery, too.  They were beaten and whipped and driven beyond their limits to hand-make bricks, build homes and buildings, and do much more menial labor.  And when the Israelite nation grew too large for the Egyptians, they worked them even harder and tried killing every Israelite baby boy that was born.

Four hundred years of oppression.  Four hundred years of bondage.  Four hundred years of slavery.  God’s people cried out to the Lord for help and deliverance.  God listened. Read the rest of this entry

Come and Worship

Epiphany

Come and Worship

1. With joy
2. With your best

Text: Matthew 2:1-12

Intro

Waiting and waiting and waiting.  The anticipation was building and building and building.  Finally the special child was born.  The parents were overjoyed.  All who heard the story were amazed at what they heard.  Visitors even came from afar to see this little child.  What great joy that the child was finally born—Gwendolyn Grace Huebner.

We had great joy when Gwen was born.  Her birth was highly anticipated.  Friends and family came from far away to see the little baby.

But imagine this:  Sometime after Gwen was born the doorbell rang at our house.  I opened the door only to find Lebron James, a NASA astronomer, and a member of the United Nations at our door.  “What are you doing here?”  “We’ve come to see the baby.  We walked all the way here just to find her.”  The three men walked into the house and approached her pink and brown polka dot crib.  As soon as they saw her they bowed low to the ground and laid at her feet a briefcase full of cash, an expensive gift basket from Pottery Barn, and rare flowers from India.

No, that didn’t happen  (though the briefcase full of cash would be nice).  But this made up story seems as strange as the real life story of the Magi.  Read the rest of this entry