Monday, November 24, 2014

Sermon Nov. 22-23, 2014 Thanksgiving

Title: Christ has set you apart as his!
Text: Matt. 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

"For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (II Corinthians 1:20).

The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech. The word is directly related--in fact, almost identical--to the Hebrew word (aman), for "believe" or "faithful." Thus, it came to mean "sure" or truly," which is an expression of absolute trust and confidence. When one believes God, he indicates his faith by an "amen." When God makes a promise, the believer's response is "amen"--"yes, let it be so!" In the New Testament, it is often translated "verily" or "truly."

When we pray according to His Word and His will, we know God will answer, so we close with an "amen," and so also do we conclude a great hymn or anthem of praise and faith.

The word is even a title of Christ Himself. The last of His letters to the seven churches begins with a remarkable salutation by the glorified Lord: "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" (Revelation 3:14). We can be certain that the Word of God is always faithful and true, because He is none other than the Creator of all things, and thus He is our eternal "Amen."

As we come to the close of the church year it is, therefore, profoundly meaningful that the entire Bible closes with an "amen." "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen" (Revelation 22:21), assuring everyone who reads these words that the whole Book is absolutely true and trustworthy. Amen!

Source Unknown.

And as a result of this truth:

Yes … Christ has set you apart as his!

When the son of man comes in all his glory, there will be a gathering of all the nations. Ever man and woman will stand before the Lord and there will be a separating. Just like a shepherd who separates sheep from the goats, those destined for eternal life will inherit the Kingdom prepared – for you - from the foundation of the world, and those who will be cast out will depart into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angles.

Here, Jesus tells in prophetic detail, not parable, the return of the son of man, the second coming of Christ in judgment. He is the King who will judge the righteous, those who will inherit eternal life, was worthy, and those cast out will go away to eternal punishment.

 It is interesting that the two groups, the sheep and goats and both under the Lordship of the King who comes to judge and also they hear both a similar but opposite statements.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37

Contrasted with:

42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.

Both the sheep and the goats reply, “When did we see you” and do this for you or not do this for you? And you and I might ask ourselves the same question.

To this the Lord replies that when you did it, or did not do it, to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’


As we all this weekend prepare for Thanksgiving let us all look to all of our blessings and to those who are in need.

"In 1636, amid the darkness of the Thirty Years' War, a German pastor, Martin Rinkart, is said to have buried five thousand of his parishioners in one year, and average of fifteen a day. His parish was ravaged by war, death, and economic disaster. In the heart of that darkness, with the cries of fear outside his window, he sat down and wrote this table grace for his children:

'Now thank we all our God / With heart and hands and voices;/ Who wondrous things had done,/ In whom His world rejoices. /Who, from our mother's arms,/Hath led us on our way/ With countless gifts of love/ And still is ours today.'

Here was a man who knew thanksgiving comes from love of God, not from outward circumstances.
Don Maddox. (From a sermon at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, by Gary Wilburn)
Who has been the least of these that the Lord is speaking of the least of these my brothers?

Matthew Chapter 10 can give us a clue.

At the sending of the disciples Jesus warns those who would be Apostles,

7 And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.

9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.

Jesus warns of the persecution to come saying:

17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

But also comforting,

40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me.

Those who receive the message of the gospel receive the messenger and him whom he has sent, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ himself. It is the work of all who have given testimony to the word of God and the saving work found only in Christ Jesus our Lord, which are those who are the least who are hungry and fed, thirsty and given drink, a stranger that is welcomed, naked that is clothed, sick and visited and even comforted in prison.

It is also those, who being in need, are brought the comforting good news of the gospel so that the working of the Holy Spirit can bring to faith those who also will go forth to share this same good news with their neighbor.

It is at Thanksgiving that we too remember those less fortunate, and even with our clothing drive for the those who are in need at Houghton School, we share the love of Christ opening an opportunity for some to reach the lost with the good news of salvation in found only in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Those who did these things for the least of those my brothers did it also for Christ.

Those who receive the Kingdom, to them Jesus says: ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

To this, Christ has set you apart as his!

Even though it is not your works, not what you have done but what he, Jesus Christ has done, it a fruit of your faith. Receiving the word of truth, the gift of God and those who are sent to proclaim that truth is a gift of our heavenly Father and by the working of the Holy Spirit you believe, you feed, you welcome, you cloth, you visit, you comfort and you are blessed.

To this Jesus says to you: ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Christ has set you apart as his!

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’37

For you are called blessed, righteous and prepared to inherit the kingdom

"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen"

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sermon Nov. 15-16, 2014

Title: Enter into the joy of your master!
Text: Matt. 25:14-30

29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

After Abraham Lincoln became president, before the days of civil service, office seekers besieged him everywhere trying to get appointments to various jobs throughout the country. Once, confined to bed with a fever and exasperated, Lincoln declared to his secretary, "Bring on the office seekers; for I now have something I can give to everybody."


Giving is a wonderful thing but what if the gift is neglected or wasted? It certainly wouldn’t be looked upon as a good thing. We have all been gifted according to our own ability and God also wants to see that gift used in proportion to that ability. Whatever your gift and whatever you have been given you have the joy of serving Christ because of his gift to you and his mission to reach the lost with the saving gospel. As a result Christ’s sacrifice you can:

Enter into the joy of your master!

With these last two weeks in the church year we hear the really good news that all believers long to hear:

Enter into the joy of your master and inherit the Kingdom prepared for you!

Both of these sayings are really good news for those who are prepared, with lamps full of oil just like the wise virgins from last week’s lesson. But just like last week, there too are those who are foolish and who are ill prepared for the coming of the master, and who also when Christ returns, will find themselves hearing words of rejection, terror and judgment.

Jesus in preparation for his passion and the time of his departing tells a parable about a man going on a journey. Who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. And then he gives them a potion of his property to manage according to their ability.

15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.

According to New Nave's Topical Bible, one who possessed five talents of gold or silver was a multimillionaire by today's standards. Some calculate the talent in the parables to be equivalent to 20 years of wages for the common worker. Other scholars estimate more conservatively, valuing the New Testament talent somewhere between $5,000 to $30,000 dollars today. None the less it represented a large sum of money to be entrusted with.

We also see that the one, who had been given the most, went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. He took what he had been given and with the ability given him went and doubled the master’s investment. He used what had been gifted to him in ability to grow his master’s kingdom.

The one who was given the two talents, made two talents more. He too did with what he had been given in ability to grow the master’s kingdom. Finally the one who was given one talent, did with it what the master had not expected, 18 But he … went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.

He took what had been entrusted to him and buried it.


This past year upon doing some visitation at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital I entered the elevator with two older ladies, a mother and daughter. As the door closed and we began to descend the one lady looked at her mother and said, “Go ahead and ask him.” I was unsure what to expect but the lady who had spoke looked at me and said, “Father, she has an old missal and was told that she should go in the backyard and bury it!”

Now, for those of you who may not know, the Missal is a Roman Catholic prayer book and hymnal similar to our Lutheran Service Book. It has the order of service, collects, hymns, prayers and chants. And growing up in the Roman Catholic Church we used one every Sunday just like here at Peace and even had one in our home. So her question was not lost on me.

So I looked at her and said, “Well, I’m a Lutheran pastor and not a Catholic priest but I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and I am familiar with the Missal and its use.”  I continued, “I think the best thing you can do is to take the missal to your local church and give it to them to deal with because I don’t think it is ever a good idea to bury the word of God!”

In this parable we have to look at it on the surface and also at what greater biblical meaning is Jesus pointing at. First, the money given to the first two servants brought a return. In money matters this is always good. As my boss told me many years ago when I was first hired to work in his business, “When you work on commission you have to prepare for the times when you will have a bad month. You must first produce, then save and then invest.” His point was that once you receive your pay check you must invest some of it so that it produces a return that is greater than the investment you began with. Servant three didn't understand that, it wasn't even invested, so that it brought some interest on the investment from the bankers for the master. It was buried and brought no return.

20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Remember we already said that 5 talents of money was a very large sum but the master here refers to it as being faithful over a little and promises to set him over much. This too happens for servant two in much the same way.

In our Biblical understanding we all are made sons of our heavenly father and of the word himself, Jesus Christ. We have been given the gift of faith and made partakers of the Kingdom of God. We have all been gifted richly by our loving God through the working of the Holy Spirit and at the end times and upon Christ’s return will give an accounting of what we did with the gift of God in Christ Jesus that had been given to us. Did we believe or did ewe reject? For some it is using our gifts within the church for others it is in the world and for some it is in both places reaching the fullest return with what you have been gifted.


There is a story of a missionary who was speaking at a local church about the financial needs of the foreign mission fields and was to receive an offering to help out with his work.

A man was sitting next to the aisle about halfway up. He had folded his arms and sat with a grim look, a scowl and a frown. He evidently didn't want to be there. When the usher held the plate in front of him to help the mission’s work, he just shook his head. The usher jiggled the plate invitingly. Still the only response was the head shake. The usher leaned over and whispered, "It's for missions, you know." Still the scowl and a mumbled sentence, "I don't believe in missions." Well the usher was a sharp man. He leaned down and said, "Then you take some out. It's for those who don’t believe, anyway."


Now don’t get me wrong, the parable is not about money, it’s not about giving but it is about the word of God Jesus Christ which is the gift of God and what ultimately is done with it.

Upon Christ’s return you will either receive the joy of the master by his gift and his work alone, or you will shut the door of faith with unbelief, burying the word of God, which by the Spirit work brings that faith, and then, just like the servant who buried the master’s gift, there will be those who blame God for their own rejection of his free gift.

29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Those who believe that the gospel is hard fear the Lord’s return. Those who think that a loving God would not judge those who reject the gift of grace and faith are also those who themselves reject the means of receiving eternal life, which is given by faith in Christ through word and sacrament.

27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

Christ welcomes all who by faith trust his work and believe. He has gifted each one of us with the blessed gift of faith and by his working through the holy Spirit we believe and serve our Lord Christ in blessedness and holiness and:

Enter into the joy of your master!

We all have been gifted to serve the Lord and his kingdom. May we all find joy in his use of each one of us for his greater purpose so that you will:

Enter into the joy of your master!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sermon Nov. 8-9, 2014

Title: Because of Jesus you who believe are ready!
Text: Matt. 25:1-13

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

In 1912 the "unsinkable" Titanic was launched in Liverpool, England. So haughty was the hoopla surrounding the Titanic's safety and structural integrity that it caused great anxiety in the heart of one God-fearing woman, whose family was unexpectedly transferred onto the gigantic liner for its maiden voyage. The woman was the mother of seven-year-old Eva Hart, who recalls that her family was saved from tragedy because of Mrs' Hart's spiritual convictions. Throughout the voyage, Mrs. Hart stayed awake at night waiting for disaster to strike, and thus was able to move her family to an upper deck almost immediately after the ship collided with an unseen iceberg. Because of her vigilance, the family did not join the 1,500 others who died that night.

After reading the shipbuilders' claims, Mrs. Hart believed--and so stated--"This is flying in the face of God!"

Today in the Word, July, 1989, p. 8.

As we look to this gospel text and parable today let us begin with a few verses that precede this reading today from chapter 24. Here Jesus, Is speaking with his disciples and says:

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.


44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

And finally:

50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So the text today speaks of the end times and preparation.

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

In the parables that we have studied previously, the kingdom of heaven and the joy that awaits those who believe had been described as a Wedding feast. There were those closed with wedding garments and those who were not. There was also a casting out and a weeping and gnashing of teeth.

And now we continue, for the disciples and our benefit, with the foolish and wise virgins who took their lamps and while the wise had oil in their lamps and the foolish did not and while the bridegroom was a long time in coming they were unprepared for the time of his arrival.

Being unprepared is not a good thing.


This past week we at church here ordered a pallet of rock salt in preparation for the winter and snow that will soon be upon us. It is being delivered on Monday. The call and arrangements with the plowing company that took care of snow removal last season with the great amount of snow that fell has also been made and arranged.

We are prepared for what we assume will be a snowy winter, as far as the Almanac is concerned, and I believe that we are prepared for that snow that will fall. To not have salt and to not have made arrangements would be foolish. To see the seasonable fall that we have enjoyed and to neglect to be ready for what we know will arrive soon enough, even though we don’t know the day or the hour, would be to act like the foolish virgins who came with no oil.

For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,

How much good is a lamp that has no oil? Not much. We too know about oil here at church and at times the acolytes have to try to light candles that have no oil in them. They have a dry wick and no fuel from which to draw.

4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.

As we know lamps with oil bring with them light and light the way. But in our parable the oil signifies something more. It signifies the work of God, the gift of God and the working of his Holy Spirit that brings faith … the gift of God for we who believe. So what did the foolish lose? They lost focus on him, Jesus, by the working of the Holy Spirit. The faith that is a pure gift of God and not of our own doing had dimmed … to the point of flickering and had gone out.

What does this say to you and to me and to all who have been given this gift?

Let us look at Matthew 7 and what Jesus had said to his disciples and the crowds after the Sermon on the Mount.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

What is it to do the will of my father who is in heaven?

To believe on him who he has sent, is to believe on Christ Jesus by the gift of faith and the working of God. It is only possible to believe on Christ by the gift of faith and by the power by the Holy Spirit.


The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still 'tis nonsense. – says Ben Franklin

B. Franklin.

For those who have lamps we all are fools. We fool ourselves into believing that we have measured up, that we are acceptable in the eyes of God and that we will all stand before him in righteous acceptance.


This past week on Tuesday I drove to the seminary to receive my certificate of recognition for completing the SMP program. As a student I followed direction very well, did all the work required and even at time received good grades.

So getting up at 5:00 am was not a problem and driving the 3 ½ hours to the seminary was not a problem and seeing the sign that said, Fort Wayne 20 miles, was not a problem but as I got closer … there was no signs that I expected that said Fort Wayne next 2 exits. Instead, I saw a sign that said Jefferson Ave. next exit … I wasn't sure was this the one I needed? I drove past it.

Thinking that it was the exit I needed, I turned around and headed back north. I took the exit for Jefferson Ave. and as I drove I saw signs that said Historic Fort Wayne with an arrow. No, this isn't right I thought, so, I once again headed north on I-69. I drove three miles to the next exit of Goshen rd. Was this the right exit? I wasn't sure. I didn't sound right, but it was 15 minutes to 10:00 am and I was going to be late, if it wasn't right. West Coliseum Blvd came up next. Now this looks familiar 10 minutes to 10:00 … would I make it? There were slow drivers in front of me and on the side of me.

Lord don’t let my oil run out!

I pulled onto N. Clinton St and headed the short distance to the Seminary. I turned onto the grounds oblivious to the 15 mile and hour speed limit signs. What are they going to do, give me a certificate of recognition and a ticket I thought. I pulled into the parking lot … no spaces … wait; there is one in the back. I get out of the car and hear the bells ringing the call to worship and I begin to run.

Certainly I can run to the chapel and be on time. It’s raining as I begin my jog to the chapel. I arrive with no time to spare. I head to the front with wet and windblown hair and less prepared and out of breath than I expected. I sit down in the front row next to my classmates … and everyone stands for the opening invocation.

My lamp was empty.

I had failed. I thought I knew the way. I thought I would arrive early. I thought I would have time to visit. I thought, I thought.

Had I prepared, I would have printed a map. Had I prepared I would have known the exit number. Had I prepared I would have arrive on time with plenty of oil in my lamp. How foolish I was.

But not you.

Because of Jesus you who believe are ready!

Christ has made a way to give you a full lamp. Christ has filled you with His Spirit who points you to him. Christ has promised he would never leave you or forsake you. Christ continues to feed you on word and sacrament so that the gift of faith continues to fill your lamp for you who trust in Him.

Just as Mrs. Hart, on the Titanic, stayed awake at night waiting and watching and preparing for what was unseen. And because of her vigilance, her family was saved.

You too who have been filled and are continually filled by God’s blessed faith are wise and prepared and ready for the coming of him, who is was and is and is to come, Jesus Christ our Lord!

Because of Jesus and your lamp of faith you who believe are ready!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!


Monday, November 3, 2014

Funeral Sermon for Betty Gedeon

Sunday, Nov.2, 2014
Funeral Sermon for Betty Gedeon
Text: Luke 2:22-32

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

Dear friends, family and loved ones of our beloved Betty. As we together morn and grieve her passing and our loss, let us comfort and sustain one another with the blessed hope, that in Christ death is a parting for a time but there awaits a joyful reunion for all who believe.

I’m Pastor Russ Tkac from Peace Lutheran Church in Waterford and I’ve had the pleasure of being Betty’s pastor over these last few years. While it had been difficult for Betty to deal with her limited mobility, loss of car use and the freedom that that allowed, Betty too was comforted by her loving family, their help and her trust in Jesus. In this she had true peace.


Long ago a man sought the perfect picture of peace. Not finding one that satisfied, he announced a contest to produce this masterpiece. The challenge stirred the imagination of artists everywhere, and paintings arrived from far and wide. Finally the great day of revelation arrived. The judge’s uncovered one peaceful scene after another.

The tensions grew. Only two pictures remained veiled. As a judge pulled the cover from one, a hush fell over the crowd. A mirror-smooth lake reflected lacy, green birches under the soft blush of the evening sky. Along the grassy shore, a flock of sheep grazed undisturbed. Surely this was the winner. The man with the vision uncovered the second painting himself, and the crowd gasped in surprise. Could this be peace?

It was a raging waterfall cascaded down a rocky precipice; the crowd could almost feel the cold, penetrating spray. Stormy-gray clouds threatened to explode with lightning, wind and rain. In the midst of the thundering noises and bitter chill, a spindly tree clung to the rocks at the edge of the falls. One of its branches reached out in front of the torrential waters as if foolishly seeking to experience its full power.

There a little bird had built a nest in the elbow of that branch. Content and undisturbed in her stormy surroundings, she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she manifested true peace in the midst of all earthly turmoil.

Berit Kjos, A Wardrobe from the King, pp. 45-46.

Peace can take on the many different looks, both young and old, from the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger … to the man Christ Jesus hanging on a cross crying out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) But there is both joy and peace in Christ’s life and in his purifying death that it allows all who depart, trusting in Christ Jesus as both savior and Lord to receive that peace!

Our beloved Betty knew and received that Peace!

In our reading from the Luke text today we read:

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, [Mary and Joseph] brought [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

St. Luke finds it necessary to explain to his gentile audience, like us, the rites connected with the purification because they were not familiar with Jewish laws. The mother was unclean, according to the ordinances of Moses, for seven days after the birth of a son, and must then remain separate for a total of forty days of cleansing, and purification, (Lev. 12). At the close of this period the parents went up to Jerusalem with the Child to present Him to the Lord, for the firstborn of man and beast belonged to the Lord, (Ex. 13, 2,) and had to be redeemed with a sacrifice.

Popular Commentary of the Bible PE Kretzmann NT Vol. 1 Pg 274

So Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the temple to make a sacrifice to the Lord and to do as the Law required. And while there they run into a man named Simeon who we are told was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, or the comfort and peace of God and we’re told that the Holy Spirit was upon him.

26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.

27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

The joy of seeing this child, this Jesus brought to fulfillment for Simeon what the Lord by the Holy Spirit had promised, that he would not die until he had seen the Christ. The joy in Simeon’s song is and will be once again spoken at Betty’s committal service tomorrow at Glen Eden, as we also join with Simeon in joyful praise with what the Lord has given for the forgiveness of the sins of the world.

Betty knew that Chris’s purifying death would allow her to depart in peace!

I had a joyful time visiting with Betty at her home and bringing communion to her as she couldn’t get to church on a regular basis. She would always tell me how much she enjoyed being in worship but thankful as well when she could attend and really enjoyed receiving the Lord’s Supper at her home which helped to strengthened her faith.

I visited Betty at Sanctuary the day before her stroke and we had a great visit. She was sitting at the counter having dinner and was able to talk and receive the sacrament. She so looked forward to going home and with Betty that could mean to her home or the Lord’s home or both. I was surprised to hear of her stroke from Kathy on Friday as she had looked and sounded so good.

We can all see the effects of time on our faces as we look into the mirror each morning. As much as we might all hope to have the blessings of a long life like Betty, the reality of death is real and sooner or later we will all answer the door when death knocks. But too, like Betty, we can have comfort and peace because:

Death’s sting has been swallowed up in victory by Jesus Christ and we can all have comfort in His blessed work and this blessed Good News. As we together grieve the loss of our beloved Betty and think about this frail existence we all inhabit here in this world, we can still have peace.

Charles Wesley the great preacher wrote about peace in this way:

I rest beneath the Almighty's shade,
My griefs expire, my troubles cease;
Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed,
Will keep me still in perfect peace.

Charles Wesley.

Comfort and peace, is what Betty knew. That Christ had come to rescue her and you can know that as well. Comfort and peace, knows the joy of Christ Jesus in your life by God grace and mercy. Comfort and peace, is being called to follow Christ by God’s Holy Spirit who indwells all believers and is called the comforter even by Jesus himself.

For Jesus Himself says that:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Dear friends, you have access to the father as Betty did through Christ Jesus our Lord who came to live, suffer, die and rise again for you and who will give to all true peace found only in His saving arms that were outstretched upon the cross as He gave up His life for you.

Because of Chris’s purifying death he allows you to depart in peace!

So when the trials of life burden you and the storms of life rage and when even death is near, rest in the peace of Christ like Betty and the little bird who sees not the storm, the raging waterfall or the crooked little branch but rests in the loving hands of the savior who reminds us in John’s gospel the wonderful comfort Betty knew:

7 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

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

Sermon Nov. 1-2, 2014

Sermon Title: The Father’s love is given to you in Christ!
Text:  1 John 3:1-3

3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Amy Carmichael, a Christian missionary, when criticized for her humanitarian work in India, responded, "One cannot save and then pitchfork souls into heaven ... Souls are more or less securely fastened to bodies ... and as you cannot get the souls out and deal with them separately … you have to take them both together."

Quoted in: Ruth A. Tucker, Guardians of the Great Commission.

As we today celebrate All Saints Day. We look with favor at all of those the Lord uses to bring the loving Gospel to this world in need. Through the Father’s love, He sent His son to ransom the many and to bring, by the working of the Spirit, to faith in Christ all so that we might know:

The Father’s love and that it is given to you in Christ!

It might have been wonderful just to know that your Loving God has made restitution for your sin. That He sent His son Jesus Christ into the world to pay the price for what you could not pay. But then our loving God does something truly remarkable. He gives us son ship and adopts you and me into his family. He makes us His children and just as He gave His only begotten son He now calls us to be His children in Him, in Jesus.

3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

You are truly His children, even though you didn’t know Him. In your sinful nature you were dead to God and so are all who are born in the natural way. We are all born dead to God spiritually and only by the miracle of rebirth in baptism can we know him as a loving God and Father who desires to make us His children by faith.

The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Have you ever considered where you might have been had it not been for the love of your parents?


This is the story of Matthew. Not the biblical Matthew but a biblical truth just the same. It begins with a fellow SMP student Rennie Kaufmann who is pastor of Risen Christ Lutheran church in Plymouth, Michigan.

Rennie’s wife Karen and two of his children went on a mission trip to China. In the process they met a young boy of 13 who is in an orphanage. At 13 he was closing in on the age limit of 14. If not adopted by 14 he couldn’t be adopted and the chance for the Kaufmanns to bring this child to a new life and home would have passed.

As the Kaufmanns say on the blog designed to help with some of the costs of bringing their new son home:

[We want to be his "Forever Family" and show him how much God loves him. He CANNOT make himself be adopted. We must reach in and PULL MATTHEW OUT. He is 13 years old and if he is not adopted by 14, he NEVER CAN BE. His chance will be gone as will ours with him.

His special needs have a great chance of being helped here in America.
Our Family will do EVERYTHING we can to BRING MATTHEW HOME. He lives about 7,800 miles away. Total cost to bring him home about $31,200. The first part in this journey is to raise ($15,000 or 3900 miles) to get our family’s dossier to China. Please consider sponsoring some miles to bring Matthew home. ]

Rennie and his wife Karen have five other children, 4 boys and 1 girl. The sacrifice and cost is great. But after over a year or more of fundraising and prayer, and looking into how they could make this desire a reality, Matthew Kaufmann is on his way home with his new adoptive parents as a true son of this family.

As Pastor Kaufmann wrote this past week:

“Matthew has a forever family. We said this is for keeps ... no turning back ... For good times and for bad ... sickness and health ... We chose him.

He continues, “So many thanks to so many people. Especially ... I thank you my Lord for choosing us ... for stepping from eternity into time to adopt me and each one of us in my family ... for us to be able to call you Abba Father. Thank you for moving in so many hearts to help us rescue a life and give him a forever family. I am humbled and blown away by this gift of love to us. I pray that MANY, MANY hearts will be stirred to do this journey, too ... to bungee jump out of their comfort zone and adopt ... In the end, at our end, it is ALL about love...”

And today (Sunday) we also saw/ will see God’s wonderful adoptive work in Christ  with the bringing of little Sophia to faith and adoption into His family where she will/has received the Kingdom just as you and I have in the blessed name of our loving God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
The Father’s love is given to you in Christ!

Christ Jesus adopts you. He calls you to be His child and He gives you life. He comes to you where you are and makes you his. He brings his means where and when it pleases him and he does what we could never do … save ourselves.

As we think and live today as God’s saints and as we remember all of those who went before us. We can truly rejoice with the words of the Gospel for today.
Blessed are you because Christ was poor in spirit.
Blessed are you because Christ mourned.
Blessed are you because Christ was meek.
Blessed are you because Christ hungered and thirsted for righteousness.
Blessed are you because Christ was merciful.
Blessed are you because Christ was pure in heart.
Blessed are you because Christ was a peacemaker.
Blessed are you because Christ was reviled, persecuted for righteousness sake and as a result the evil that was falsely put against him brought the Kingdom of God to you.

So, 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

One cannot save souls into heaven apart from the bodies that they inhabit. So God calls us out of darkness into his marvelous light. He makes us sons and daughters by his Spirit’s work and because of his work we are Saints, disciples and blessed because heaven is now our home.

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

The Father’s love is given to you in Christ!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!