A Blessed Fellowship
1. With Jesus
2. With each other
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17
Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in the Garden of Eden? That must have been spectacular. No weeds. No sweat. No back pain or arthritis. No sadness. No stress. No calendars or appointments. No worms in your apples. No bills. No high priced gasoline. Only peace, perfection, and paradise.
But there’s one other aspect of the Garden of Eden that would have been fantastic. Perfect harmony and communion with God. Adam and Eve were created in God’s image. That means that they were perfect, righteous, and holy like God. What would it have been like to live in perfect peace with God? No fear of God because you had nothing to hide because you hadn’t done anything wrong. You knew his word and his will and you always kept them. If God showed himself and appeared, you wouldn’t run away because it was normal and perhaps even expected. You were in perfect harmony and fellowship and communion with God. What was there to be afraid of?
That’s hard for us to imagine, impossible to imagine even, because all we know is the exact opposite. All we know is fear of God and disharmony and disunity that come from shame and guilt. Read the rest of this entry
16th Sunday after Pentecost
Jesus’ Personal Touch of Love
Text: Mark 7:31-37
“Did you hear? Did you hear about that guy? They say he’s like no one else. They say he can do incredible, unbelievable things. They say he made a paralyzed man walk and healed many others. They say he has provided food for thousands. Some say that he can even walk on water. Did you hear about him? And did you know that he’s here—right here, right now—today?”
The eager and excited friends knew what to do. They battled their way through the crowds of people. They pressed and pushed on until finally they reached him. “Jesus! Jesus! Help us!”
They brought forward their friend. “Help us, Jesus. He’s deaf. He can’t talk either. Help us. Please.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to have the chance to do the same? Surely we would love the opportunity. There could be massive, hording, raucous, Woodstock-like crowds. It wouldn’t matter. We’d fight through it. We would stand in line, push and pull—whatever it takes—all to have the chance to see him face to face. “Jesus! Jesus! Help me!”
“It’s my daughter. She’s sick.” “It’s my mother. She has cancer.” “It’s my family. We’re really struggling.” “It’s me. I’m lost. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know what to do. I can’t sleep at night. I’m worried. I’m confused. I’m sad. I’m lonely.”
“Jesus! Help me. Please.” Read the rest of this entry
Live a New Life . . . Today and Forever
Text: Romans 6:1-11
Have you had enough? Are you sick of it? Have you had enough with bills? Wouldn’t it be nice if you were financially stable and you didn’t have to pay for your house, your car, insurance, cable, internet, medical bills, and food bills? Are you sick of the economy? Don’t you wish that things were stable these days—that you had job security, that the stock market would rise, that homes and vehicles actually had value?
Are you worried by all of the problems around us? One day Japan is nearly leveled by earthquakes and tsunamis. Then the entire government is threatened and rumored to shut down. Then half of Texas goes up in flames with wild fires. Before you know it there will probably be another terrorist attack somewhere in the world, or in this country. When will it ever end?
Don’t you wish you could catch a break? Someone in your family is always sick. First it’s cold after cold after cold. Then it’s the flu, or even the swine flu. Then someone gets cancer. Your To Do List is a mile long. There aren’t enough hours in a day or a week to do everything you have to do. And it seems like every other day you or someone you know hears more heart-wrenching news.
Have you had enough? Are you sick of it? Are you tired? Worn out? Wearied? Beat down? Don’t you wish sometimes you could just start all over? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could live a new life? Well you can! Listen to the words of Romans 6 this morning on page 9 of your service folder. You can Live a New Life . . . Today and Forever. Read the rest of this entry
2nd Sunday in Lent
Sermon on John 4:5-26
Text: John 4:5-26
I remember it being one of the more difficult times of my life. Nothing seemed to be going right. I didn’t really have a job. I couldn’t pay the bills. I felt anxious and uptight all the time. I could put on a fake smile with the best of them, but I truly felt empty inside—as if something were missing. I didn’t really know what true happiness was.
It was right at the peak, or I guess you could say the valley, of this low period for me when I had a life changing experience. It seemed at first like one big coincidence to me, but now I know that it was all a part of God’s plan. Allow me to share with you some of the story, because I am sure that you will find it very interesting.
I was out walking around one day, just minding my own business as usual. I recall it being a particularly hot day. The sun was just beating down on everyone and everything—the kind of sunlight that just makes you feel like you have to sit down, take a deep breath, and rest all the time. Of course, it is important to stay hydrated at all times, so I headed for the nearest place to grab a drink of water. That’s when all the action began to take place.
As I approached the location of the water, I saw a man sitting there right next to the water. He seemed to be relaxing and catching his breath from a busy day under the hot sun. He was a man that was from a different country though, I could tell that immediately just by looking at him. Later I could tell by his accent, just like by my accent you know where I am from. It made me a little nervous to go and get some water because I knew that our countries have had a bad history of not getting along. I suppose it’s similar to the long history between France and England, or even between France and the United States these days. But I really needed water, so I approached anyway.
Sure enough, just as I had hoped he wouldn’t, the man spoke to me. I’ll never forget what he first said to me, because I couldn’t believe what he said! “I’m thirsty. Will you give me a drink?” I thought, “Excuse me? You have been sitting here all along and you want me to give you a drink? And, you are a foreigner and you expect me to serve you? What, have you been just sitting here waiting for me to come along this whole time? You’re kidding, right?” He was not joking. In fact, he had a very serious look on his face. I didn’t know what to expect next. Read the rest of this entry
It was quite the day. The worship service will go down in history as one of the greatest and most memorable worship services in the history of Christ the King. Those present might even argue that it could be more memorable than the dedication worship service for Christ the King’s new church and school building.
The theme for worship set the tone for the service–Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven. To be sure, the Scripture lessons, hymns, and prayers made very clear that we will be entering the narrow door of heaven through Jesus and through Jesus alone. That was memorable enough.
But God had in mind that he would not only touch us with his Word that morning. At the beginning of the worship service we were also reminded of the power of God’s Word in connection with water, which washes us clean and clothes us with Christ in baptism. We were reminded of our own baptisms as we witnessed FIVE being baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection. Here is a video of that moving event from worship:
That too, would be memorable enough. But God still wasn’t done showing the power of his mighty Word. Later in the service the Word of the Lord was proclaimed at the meal which he gave us–the Supper in which his own body and blood are present with bread and wine. Once more in this worship service, forgiveness of sins was proclaimed in a real, tangible, and memorable way.
As the sermon in the middle of the worship service pulled together the whole theme of the day, it also related the story of a friend of Christ the King, Mike, who passed away the day before and entered through the narrow door to heaven. Here is a video of that sermon:
Thus, by the end of worship there was hardly an eye that was left dry that morning. We all knew we had been a part of a very special worship service. This touching worship service and this great display of God’s power through his Means of Grace (the gospel in Word and both Sacraments) moved Pastor Huebner to speak from the heart about the Means of Grace and Worship. The opening question he posed (which is hard to hear) was this, “How does God interact with his people today?” Here is what was said: