Monday, August 26, 2013

Aug. 24-25,2013

Title: The Lord will gather you home … in Christ you are saved!
Text: Luke 13:22-30

29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

The story is told of a new bank president who met with his predecessor and said, "I would like to know what have been the keys to your success." The older gentleman looked at him and replied, "Young man, I can sum it up in two words: Good decisions." To that the young man responded, "I thank you immensely for that advice, sir, but how does one come to know which are the good decisions?" "One word, young man," replied the sage. "Experience." "That's all well and good," said the younger, "but how does one get experience?" "Two words," said the elder. "Bad decisions."

Today In The Word, November, 1989, p.23.

When you think of the bad decisions you’ve made in your life and how you might approach those decisions now from the experience you’ve gained, it is comforting to know that even though you remain dead in your sin, Christ has made you alive and:

The Lord will gather you home … in Christ you are saved!

22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.
As we’ve discussed over the last few months, Jesus was resolute on His way towards Jerusalem. He was not running there but was diligently going on about His business to get there. Along the way He did what He loved to do … teach!

As was the case with Jesus and His teaching and what happens often when teaching through the Bible, questions come to mind. Such was the case here. As Jesus went about His business someone in the crowd of followers who had been accompanying him says:

 23 … “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”

Seems like a reasonable question. Who will be saved and how will it be determined? Again, as has been the case before, Jesus uses this question to answer and teach. The question might have been asked differently though, not so much, “will those saved be few”? But, will I be among them? This is how Jesus answers this important question.

And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

To those who see salvation as a cooperative act, it might seem to them that this work of striving is the work they do to enter in through this narrow door. Christ is the door of entrance and we can know this from the epistle of St. John the 10th chapter where Jesus says in verse 9:

9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

Those who enter in do so by faith in Christ. Those who cannot enter have been trying to make their own way and the key they’ve been trying to use to unlock will not open the door because the key is faith in God’s only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.

So Jesus gives this example in illustration:

25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’

What a harsh reality. The door will not open. No pleading, no solution, a bad decision that has no happy ending … though the experience learned is written in the bible for our learning … at the time of judgment some will be excluded for lack of making use of it. The Word of God and the working of the Holy Spirit have been active … but rejected.

Some here at Peace reject God’s gift too. They make little attempt to hear God’s word and reject His gift of faith in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. How sad to think that they too might hear, “I do not know where you come from.” To all who reject the gift of faith might not the cry be:

26 … ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’

The riches of temporal blessing and success or mere apathy blind the way to the cross for many.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:

The figure of (Jesus) the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Because as George MacDonald said:

"In whatever man does without God, he must fail miserably or succeed more miserably"

Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. 42.

Don’t you see that whatever you do as a means to find justification in work, acts of love and caring, success in life, charity are nothing that can open the door to eternal life.

28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

Those who hear Jesus hear the words of eternal life. Faith is created and the Kingdom is theirs. Those who in their sinfulness look to other means to open the door to salvation, apart from the means of grace of word and sacrament that God has ordained, will find the door locked and they themselves cast out.

Sobering to think about? You come to church … but only go through the motions and fail to trust the promises of God. Some have even stopped coming at all, thinking life too short or their life’s too busy for making time on Saturday or Sunday to be in worship. Especially, in the summer when the weather is so nice, like last weekend, and I too was even tempted to stay home and get a jump on the work I needed to do around the house. But Monica and I went to St. Augustine in Troy for their 11:00 am service to see my friend Paul and Pastor Paul Monson. Pastor Monson was on vacation but I had the joy of hearing his father Pastor Emeritus John Monson preach.

All the Emeriti pastors always bring a great message, as I’m sure you all heard here last week yourselves with Pastor Merrell handling the duties. But, I noticed at St. Augustine just as here at Peace, there seems to be a drop off in attendance during the summer months. Some, go away to the cottage, some attend elsewhere … if out of town, some get drawn away into the joys of summer and some … just lose interest and don’t come at all. Sad but true, and to some, who’ve been given the gift of faith by the working of the Holy Spirit will find no faith at all, in that day because it has died to the ways of the world.

But Christ still comforts:

29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

The truth is that some will not enter because of lack of faith. Jesus tells the people that the door is opened by faith and He is that door. Trust in him is the key and it is the gift of faith which you can not earn but is a gift that is given freely by God’s Spirit so that you and all who believe can enter in.

Pastor Matt Harrison in his sermon at the National Youth Gathering referenced Martin Luther when he said:


Luther says that all of us come to church as poor, miserable sinners with an empty sack.  We have nothing to give God.  We confess our sins and receive forgiveness – in the blessed absolution, a gift from God, which we put in our sack.  Over and over in the service we receive gifts: grace, mercy, love, the Word of God … A multitude of blessings!  All of these gifts go in our sacks.  We leave the service with a sack over-flowing with good gifts from God.  We take our gifts home, and we share all the goodies we received with our neighbor!

God gives His gifts to you. He forgives you. He blesses you and you receive His gifts from his word and through His sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This He freely gives … to you. And He calls you to come, as you are to His house because you are His child and He wishes to bless … you.

God’s grace is nothing you deserve; it is nothing you can earn; and it is only received by faith in the finished work of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit. And you have been given that gift of faith in Christ and you receive His forgiveness in Christ and you are His Child in Christ and you will enter through the door that is Christ Jesus … because of His call and work in you.

The Lord will gather you home … because, in Christ, you are saved!

As the sermon Hymn, so beautifully reminds us to:

Listen God is calling; Through His word inviting.
Offering forgiveness, comfort and joy!

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence, without fault and with great joy - the benediction from All God’s People Sing says in comfort to us.

To which the congregation responds:

To the only God, our Savior, be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever more.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with you all now and forever.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


Sermon Aug. 10-11, 2013

Title: Christ removes all fear through trust in Him!
Text: Luke 12:22-34

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. "You were one of Stalin's colleagues. Why didn't you stop him?""Who said that?" roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, "Now you know why."

Today in the Word, July 13, 1993.

We have all had to deal with fear in our life, some real and some imagined but we can all have joy and be comforted that:

Christ removes all fear through trust in Him!

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

Sounds good! If you are well fed and clothed you have little for the devil to use to torment and bring anxiety over. As Jesus talks to His disciples in particular the bigger picture of His warning is applied to all people generally.

The examples that Jesus give are common to our everyday lives.

24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!


The week of VBS I built a bird feeder. My wife’s friend Laurie had her husband make this for her out of two pressure treated 4x4. The design is simple and uses a 10” lag screw drilled through 4x4s cut at 4 foot lengths crossed at the center and set a lot the vertical 8’ 4x4 that is placed into a post holder spike that keeps the whole thing vertical. It’s a simple design that I copied and constructed in my backyard allowing 4-6 feeders to draw and large number and variety of birds from Chickadees, to Blue Jays and Hummingbirds to feed. We even had a Wood Pecker.

I bought a variety of seed and suet cakes and as things got depleted I would rush to get the feeders filled again … thinking that if I didn’t get them filled that the birds might go hungry …

The reality of these birds being fed by me is nothing more than a convenience that God is using to allow me to enjoy these creatures of His creation. The birds are fed by God’s design whether from food provided by my feeder or the natural food that they find in their habitat as they fly from place to place.

 Jesus reminds the disciples and you as well when He says:

25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?


The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety!
George Muller Massena, one of Napoleon's generals, suddenly appeared with 18,000 soldiers before an Austrian town which had no means of defending itself. The town council met certain that capitulation was the only answer. The old dean of the church reminded the council that it was Easter, and begged them to hold services as usual and to leave the trouble in God's hands. They followed his advice. The dean went to the church and rang the bells to announce the service. The French soldiers heard the church bells ring and concluded that the Austrian army had come to rescue the town. They broke camp, and before the bells had ceased ringing, vanished.

Source Unknown.

Christ removes all fear through trust in Him!

You fear as I do it is a natural part of who we are as sinners. Why do we concern ourselves with that which we cannot control? For many, when young, it involves boyfriends, girlfriends and marriage. Why not me, why not now, does God not hear my prayers? Anxiety, worry, concern and sadness all come into your thoughts day and night and you let these thoughts, at times, suck the joy out of our daily existence. Especially when friends and family seem to have all these things fall right in place.

Lord! Don’t you care?  This might be the common plea, out of frustration and worry. Always the bridesmaid … but never the bride, or so she thought.

Adrianne Dorr who is managing editor of the Lutheran Witness thought so too. In her late 20’s, she began doubting if marriage would be for her. Or as she laments:


“Sometimes, when you’re single, you doubt the Lord’s goodness.  You forget that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. You pray fervently for a pious spouse. And then you stop praying, sure that the Lord’s good gift of marriage is not for you.”

 “You resign yourself to a life you didn't imagine, one you didn't want. And then, in His perfect time and in His perfect way, the Lord gives you the perfect gift. And, in this case, that gift was a 6’2 Lutheran dairy farmer, one who had been praying and waiting himself. And when that happens, you just can’t help but kick your heels up a little. Because when the Lord does something, He does it well. When He sees you through all broken hearts, all the tearful calls to your mother, all the whining to your sisters and your best friend, all the sighs, all the Valentine’s Days, He does it in style.”

“Because His plan is always good and perfect and best.
Despite the evidence.
Despite proof of the opposite.
Despite your feelings
And you wonder why you ever doubted.”

27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

There is only one thing which should be the object of anxious search and that is the kingdom of God.
To be a member of this kingdom, to have and keep true faith in the heart, through which such membership is insured, that is the one fact which should give every Christian his chief concern, on account of which he daily prays the Second Petition – Thy kingdom come!

All the other things that are necessary for the sustaining of life are added without worry or care, by the providence of God.

P.E. Kretzmann, pg. 336

Christ removes all fear through trust in Him!

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Jesus Christ has given you the Kingdom in Him. From the “little flock” of the disciples and through simple means of the word of promise God gives the Kingdom to those whom He desires to. So Christ tells them:

33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The desires of the heart towards God in faith cannot be destroyed. Giving to the needs of others and not being consumed with the things of this world opens the treasure of heaven, Jesus Christ, by faith. No thief can take that away because you are in the hands of Christ Jesus as He promises in John 10:28:

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand

Christ removes all fear through trust in Him!

Though the world at times tries to keep you quiet in fear, as Nikita Khrushchev did to those who questioned him, God has set you free of that fear by faith in the finished work of His Son who calls to His side, covers you with His righteousness and comforts you with the Good News that the Kingdom of Heaven is yours – in Christ!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sermon Aug 3-4, 2013

Title: Christ gives you all things in Him!
Text: Luke 12:13-21

15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

The Bible defines worldliness by centering morality where we intuitively know it should be. Worldliness is the lust of the flesh (a passion for sensual satisfaction), the lust of the eyes (an inordinate desire for the finer things of life), and the pride of life (self-satisfaction in who we are, what we have, and what we have done).

 Worldliness, then, is a preoccupation with ease and affluence. It elevates creature comfort to the point of idolatry; large salaries and comfortable life-styles … become necessities of life.

Dave Roper, The Strength of a Man, quoted in Family Survival in the American Jungle, Steve Farrar, 1991, Multnomah Press, p. 68.

In life there are necessities and the Lord desires to give you good things, but also warns that when the focus of life becomes the things we covet and desire we need to be reminded that:

Christ gives you all things in Him!

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Jesus had just been talking to the crowd about the leaven of the Pharisees and their hypocrisy, not to fear those who kill the body but fear the one who has the authority to cast into hell and to acknowledge the Christ before men so that Jesus will also acknowledge them before His Father in Heaven.

This is pretty heady stuff about life, death and your eternal security … right?

And from the crowd someone yells out in interruption, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Sounds whiny to me and like this guy hadn’t really been listening to what Jesus had been talking about all along. So, as interruptions go Jesus replies:

14 “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

Now, I don’t know about you because the Bible doesn’t necessarily give us a sense of how Jesus might have responded but every time I’ve read this response from our Lord I always get a sense to read it as …

14  “Man! … who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

I hear just a little bit of emphasis on “Haven’t you heard a thing I've been saying?” “I’m talking about eternal security and your thinking about temporal blessings?”

And then the Lord gives him and the crowd this little reminder:

15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Now, that might have been enough to sit the interrupter down. But the Lord decides to use this interruption as an opportunity to teach by parable or a story, and illustration if you will, what covetousness can ultimately lead to.

A young banker was driving his BMW, in the mountains, during a snowstorm. As he rounded a turn the vehicle slid out of control and toward a cliff. At the last moment he unbuckled his seatbelt and jumped from the car. Though he escaped with his life, his left arm was caught near the hinge of the door and torn it off at the shoulder.

A trucker passing nearby witnessed the accident, stopped his rig, and ran back to see if he could be of help. There standing, in a state of shock, was the banker at the edge of the cliff moaning, "Oh no, my BMW, my BMW.” The trucker pointed to the banker’s shoulder and said "man you’ve got bigger problems than a car".

With that the banker looked at his shoulder, finally realizing he’d lost his arm, and began crying "Oh No, my Rolex, my new Rolex!”

Now, Jesus’ parable gets to the meat of the matter. What shall I do with all my stuff for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods, my BMW and my Rolex 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; nice home, 60” flat screen, house on the lake and even a boat, relax, eat, drink, be merry.”

Have you been there? Have you let the desires of the world keep you from the true joy of faith in Christ?

Christ gives you all things in Him!

God knows you have. It seems that no sooner than the acquisition of the next thing on the demand schedule than you and I are off with our eyes set on the next need. The sinful nature can do that. That is why we are warned in the 9th and 10th commandments not to covet your neighbor’s house and wife, manservant and maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

I had a real bout of coveting that I had to deal with this summer. Every time I saw one I had to have it. I had one before, but over the last 5-6 years I did without, but the fever started to get really bad. I needed a riding mower!

Oh I have one … it just didn’t work. It started blowing white smoke about 6 years ago and I put it in the shed. You see my son cut the grass and he just walked the self-propelled push mower over the yard. After he graduated college it became my job to cut the lawn again and I started to fix up the rider, as I sweated through walking the whole yard … a daunting task!

But, there were issues with my rider that I couldn’t figure out, so my eyes started wandering. John Deere, Craftsman, Wheel Horse, Toro, Cub Cadet, you name it, I wanted it; even dreamed about sitting down and mowing. I went and looked at a few … convinced Monica that a $500 used rider would do. I even drove to Livonia to look at one! I was finally put in touch with a man that could fix mine. He found that I needed the carburetor rebuilt - something he said that looked like solid Amber was in there and I needed two new blades. $86 later and I’m in heaven. But you can see how things can pull you into the worldly spell of stuff.

Back in 1981 George Carlin did a piece called “Stuff” that hits the nail on the head. He said in part:

So when you get right down to it, your house is nothing more than a place to keep your stuff … while you go out and get … more stuff!

George Carlin 1981

It’s funny because the irony that he uses is true; exaggerated but true. We all fall victim to this need for stuff. And when we get the stuff we want … we want more stuff. That is what Jesus said in the parable when he brought it to its logical conclusion:

20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself (all that stuff) and is not rich toward God.”

The Good News is that:

Christ gives you all things in Him!

Jesus knows that you need … stuff. He desires to give you the desires of your heart. Last week he promised that:

13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

He has given His Son to die for you and has made you heirs along with Christ. You have all things good given to you. In Christ you have an eternity that will never end. For your sake Jesus has conquered sin and death and has triumphed over the devil, just for you. You have been adopted and our sons and daughters of your Heavenly Father.

While the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life can cloud your view of the Kingdom. God has given you clear vision through Baptism as you have been washed clean and marked as one redeemed by Christ the crucified!

Christ gives you all things in Him!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.

Sermon July 27-28, 2013

Title: The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … loves you!
Text: Luke 11:9-13

9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

In Valladolid, Spain, where Christopher Columbus died in 1506, stands a monument commemorating the great discoverer. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the memorial is a statue of a lion destroying one of the Latin words that had been part of Spain's motto for centuries. Before Columbus made his voyages, the Spaniards thought they had reached the outer limits of earth. Thus their motto was "Ne Plus Ultra," which means "No More Beyond." The word being torn away by the lion is "Ne" or "no," making it read "Plus Ultra." Columbus had proven that there was indeed "more beyond."

Source Unknown.

Columbus didn’t take NO for an answer and neither should you; 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  Because:

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … loves you!

Our Gospel lesson today begins with our Lord in prayer … a practice that we know from the scriptures, that He did very often. Most of us know that prayer is – conversation with God – we talk to God about our needs and wants but find it hard at times to know how or for what to pray. This leads to the disciples in our lesson asking Jesus to teach them to pray and His giving of the Lord’s Prayer.

Martin Luther the great reformer was also asked by his barber, Master Peter Beskensdorf, how he prays? Luther, not one for quick or short answers in spite of all that consumed his time gave his barber a reply … a letter of 40 printed pages! Titled “A Simple Way to Pray”, Luther delved into the his deep understanding of prayer and all that the world, the flesh and the devil work at to keep you away for prayer and your conversation with God.

Jesus teaches his disciples:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

Martin Luther begins his letter to Master Peter by focusing on what he needs to do to be skilled at his vocation as a barber.

Luther says:
A good clever barber must have his thoughts, mind and eyes concentrated upon the razor and the beard and not forget where he is in his stroke and shave. If he keeps talking or looking around or thinking of something else, he is likely to cut a man’s mouth or nose – or even his throat. So anything that is to be done well ought to occupy the whole man with all his faculties and members. As the saying goes, He who thinks of many things thinks of nothing and accomplishes no good. How much more must prayer possess the heart exclusively and completely if it is to be a good prayer!

Jesus says:

9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Because:

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … loves you!

Prayer is a beautiful thing but one that has many obstacles.


The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.

So says C.S. Lewis about prayer:

C.S. Lewis

You know you miss the mark when you pray. So do I … and it is one of the things that I resolved to do and to be better at after my visit to the Doxology conference in June. Prayer is something that must be done by you and by me as Jesus tells us to ask … than to seek … and finally to knock.

Luther continues his letter to his barber with this:

It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business in the morning and the last in the evening. Guard yourself against such false and deceitful thoughts that keep whispering: Wait a while. In an hour or so I will pray. I must first finish this or that. Thinking such thoughts we get away from prayer into other things that will hold us and involve us till the prayer of the day comes to naught. (Or becomes nothing)

You can’t know your heavenly father without communing with Him. This is done by prayer as you ask, seek and knock and by hearing his word of reply as you partake of weekly worship, hearing the Lord’s word of Law and Gospel but truly being comforted by the holy absolution given by God through his means of word and sacrament.

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … loves you!


Last Sunday Pastor Merrell and I went to the ordination and installation of the Rev. Martin Dressler as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Milford. It was a beautiful service with wonderful music, much singing and prayer.

When God calls a pastor to His church He is calling a pastor to be His representative, called through the congregation to bring Christ and His gifts to His people. It was joyful to see so many pastors in attendance on a beautiful summer Sunday in July. Lifting up Martin in prayer for what God was calling him to do in service to Christ’s church in Milford.

As we think about our Lord’s words again in the Gospel for today regarding prayer:

11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

The Holy Spirit was given in abundance at this ordination because God wishes to richly bless His people with His gifts and the most blessed gift you can have is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to you who works in you, faith in Christ’s finished work and keeps you pointed to Him so that on the last day you may stand firm in that faith unto life everlasting.

The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … loves you!

And by the Holy Spirit’s work in you from our epistle reading today bring the joyful gift of prayer to the Lord’s logical conclusion when it says:

10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Rejoice! You who are loved by the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

When you were born in sin the devil would have placed a sign upon your forehead that like the opening illustration might have read "Ne Plus Ultra," which means "No More Beyond." You are dead in sin and dead you will stay. But, God in Christ, like that lion has ripped the word “no” from your sin and has given you His heavenly home through the cross that He endured for you, so that in Him you might have an eternity 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.