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Sermons & Education


11th Sunday after Pentecost

August 16, 2020      Cycle of Discipleship Sermon—Equipped to Serve Scriptures:               Deuteronomy 15:1-11; James 1:22-26; 2:14-19; Matthew 25:31-45   Whenever we begin thinking and talking about how Jesus makes disciples and how he commissions us to do the same, it is really easy to get things completely out of focus. Neither the disciple nor the process of making disciples should ever be in the center of the frame. In all these considerations, it’s absolutely vital that we keep our eyes on Jesus—the grace of his life, the mercy of his love, and the purity of his holiness. The truth is that nothing comes from us.Read More →

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10th Sunday after Pentecost

August 9, 2020       Cycle of Discipleship Sermon—Learning to Love             Scriptures:             Deuteronomy 6:4-8; Colossians 3:12-17; Matthew 18:21-35  Jesus invited his listeners to follow him. Jesus inspired his followers to worship him. And Jesus educated his worshipers to love. Today, in the third phase of the Cycle of Discipleship, we come to an action that seems more familiar to us than inviting and inspiring. We may not be sure how to do those first two, but we’re pretty sure we know how to educate, to teach. So we focus the Church’s efforts on telling people about Jesus. We try to enforce Christian precepts in our society.Read More →

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9th Sunday after Pentecost

August 2, 2020       Cycle of Discipleship Sermon—Inspired to Worship   Scriptures:             Exodus 35:30–36:1; Psalm 100; and Matthew 14:22-33                       As of this morning, we have held worship services by Zoom for 19 weeks. That’s a long time not to be gathering as usual. Distance worship because of Covid-19 has been such a challenge for some pastors and congregations that they have disobeyed local regulations and federal guidelines and—in civil disobedience—met in person, anyway. For some, that was a fatal decision. We haven’t done that, but gathering by Zoom has called for flexibility and relaxing our expectations. I don’t see this as a time of persecution, though.Read More →

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8th Sunday after Pentecost

July 26, 2020          Cycle of Discipleship Sermon—Invited and Inviting Jesus started the cycle of discipleship spinning with an invitation: “As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mt 4:18-20; cf. Luke 5:1-11). How did Jesus invite you? Be careful now: I’m not talking about who invited you to church. Think about what intrigued you or encouraged you and made itRead More →

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7th Sunday after Pentecost

July 19, 2020          Cycle of Discipleship Sermon—Why Make Disciples?    Scriptures:             2 Peter 3:1-9; 1 John 4:1-6; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43       Jesus is always the best teacher. In what he did and what he said, he taught what he knew we needed most to learn. Last Sunday we focused on his last word to those who followed him: Jesus’ “Great Commission,” that his disciples “make disciples.” I think most of us would agree that Jesus actually said that. And that he also said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” So knowing what Jesus wants us to do, we might think the next stepRead More →

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6th Sunday after Pentecost

July 12, 2020           Cycle of Discipleship—What Did Jesus Do? Scriptures:               John 13:12-18a; John 15:1-17; Matthew 16:20          If I ever write a book about my life as a Lutheran pastor, there will definitely be at least one chapter of stories I would entitle “Sad but True.” I mean situations, conversations, comments overheard that just shouldn’t happen in church, but they do. And here’s one of those: In my Ohio congregation one of the efforts I was most satisfied with was a complete revision of our Confirmation program. Instead of continuing our focus on faith formation only with adolescents, we developed what’s called a “longerRead More →

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Education series

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