3rd Sunday after Pentecost – Confirmation Sunday
Which is Better?
Text: Philippians 1:18b-26
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
Find Strength to Give Thanks
Text: Philippians 4:10-20
This Thanksgiving stuff is a lot of work. It takes a lot of energy and strength to pull off a successful Thanksgiving. Hours are spent cleaning every nook and cranny of the house. After all, it’s been a while since you cleaned the dust bunnies off your ceiling fan and that would be embarrassing if your company saw that! All the sheets and towels need to be washed and put in place. All the fine china needs to be unpacked and washed off.
Then there’s the Thanksgiving menu. How many visitors are we going to have again this year? 15? Wait cousin Sal has three kids now? Ok, 16. How big of a turkey do we need? 18 pound? 20 pound? Can we trust Jennie-O’s calculations of pounds per person? Do you think we need a ham too? What sort of stuffing should we make this year? Do we need three pies or four? When am I going to have time to bake those pies, because I need the oven all day on Thanksgiving for the bird.
What time should we eat? Well, what does the football schedule look like? Which games do we want to watch? Definitely not the Lions game. Boring! We have to plan dinner properly so we can watch football and so we can also plan when we pass out in a turkey-tryptophan coma. (By the way, the tryptophan in turkey making you sleepy is not true and just an urban legend.) Oh, and most important of all—Black Friday sales start as early as 7pm on Thursday now! Which store do we want to stand in line at first? We need to finish our Christmas shopping ASAP so we have time to put up the Christmas lights and tree on Friday. Read the rest of this entry
Devotion Text: Philippians 1:12-18
Sometimes jealousy isn’t just envy and covetousness about what material blessings someone else has. Sometimes, jealousy is about the life God has blessed another person with compared to the trials and temptations God has blessed you with.
The apostle Paul had every reason to be jealous of other people, other believers.
For him, the Lord had a special plan. Paul would be the first Christian missionary to the Gentiles. He would travel from city to city–far from home–and under constant danger. He would be jailed and he would eventually be killed–all for the sake of the Gospel. Other apostles, even those who were martyred enjoyed the relative peace of their homes and a large Christian population in Jerusalem. Many had families and were blessed with long lives with much less trouble than Paul.
Still, Paul did not begrudge his chains or his fellow Christians, he considered himself blessed.
Jealousy at its core, is the enemy of love and it is the opposite of contentment. Paul notes that some at his time were even preaching out of jealousy and envy–may God protect us from this! But, perhaps, Paul’s conclusion is even more apt to the overall point.
In the end, even those who preached to advance themselves, still preached Christ. While we would not laud them as great examples, God still worked through them (and hopefully eventually in them) to advance the Gospel! The Gospel is the cure for these symptoms because it attacks the underlying illness–sin.
With our sins forgiven and the freedom to live a new life, we have the ability to cast off our jealousy and accept our trials along with our blessings as God reveals his greater plans for our lives. All this as we trek onward to the ultimate plan for our lives, an eternal life in heaven.
Prayer: Let me be content, Lord. Let me be content with your plan for my life. Let me be content, Lord, not only for all the blessings you’ve given me, but that you have blessed me at all when I have not earned anything from you. Let me be content, Lord, with the ways in which you have blessed others. Let me rejoice with them and never be envious. Instead, let me always be content, Lord, with your times and your plans. Let me be content, Lord, as I await the much fuller joys you have planned for me in heaven. Amen.
This is a Different Kind of King
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
Try to contain your disappointment and sadness. It was reported last year that since 2010 the total net worth of the world’s richest royals has been down nine percent. I know. It’s just horrible. But somehow they will survive. King Adulyadej of Thailand might make it somehow with his $30 billion net worth. So might the king of Saudi Arabia with $18 billion.
Maybe we should be concerned about a few others though? Prince Albert II of Monaco is only worth $1 billion. And Queen Elizabeth isn’t even a billionaire! She’s only worth $500 million! Then there is Spelling Manor, the 60,000 s.f. mansion in California that only sold for $85 million when it had been listed at $150 million. Wow the economy is bad! Ok, maybe we aren’t too concerned about these things.
We’ve become used to this though. When you have power, you flaunt it. People serve you and wait on your beck and call. When you have money you spend it like it is burning a hole in your pocket. (It will be interesting to see which of the three Mega Millions lottery winners loses all their winnings first.) When you are popular you use your influence for benefit and gain and more profit. Whether you are a celebrity, an athlete, a politician, or a ruler, and whether you are in America or any other country on the planet, when you have power, authority, and wealth you use it, you flaunt it, and you love it. Read the rest of this entry
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
Americans have a problem with entitlement. We seem to think we deserve just about anything and everything:
- Our Big Mac better come out fast and piping hot because we are entitled to good service.
- We better get a big tax return because the government really owes us a lot.
- We need to be recognized for our accomplishments and achievements. We deserve it! If not, it would be really rude.
- We can do what we want and say what we want because this is a free country and I’m entitled to a happy life of freedom.
How strange is this King we see riding into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday! Paul explains in our daily devotion today how extraordinary Jesus’ actions were.
Jesus was God. Jesus is God. He will always be God. Yet he did not consider his divinity something to be flaunted or used for his advantage. (How different than today’s celebrities and athletes and politicians!) Instead, Jesus humbled himself and set aside the full and continual use of his powers as he took on the form of a servant. In fact, Jesus was so humble that he became obedient to death on a cross–the most gruesome and cursed way to die at the time!
But there was a reason for all of this: Our salvation! Jesus humbled himself so that he could take our place and pay for all our sins.
There were two results from this as well. First, Jesus did pay for all our sins, win forgiveness for us, and give us the gift of eternal life. Secondly, God exalted him above all others.
Yes, our King is so great and grand that come the Last Day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Even the devil and all his demons and unbelievers in hell will have to bow and confess that Jesus is Lord and King of all on the Last Day.
Give thanks to Jesus that he humbled himself for you, and will be exalted and praised by you now and for all eternity!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, it was for me and my sins that you humbled yourself to the point of death on a cross. You have taken my place. You have redeemed me. You have saved me. Give me knees that fall in humble adoration and lips that sing your praises, now and forever. Amen.