Monday, June 17, 2019

Sermon June 15-16, 2019 - Holy Trinity

Title: His steadfast love endures forever!
Text: Psalm 100

A Psalm for giving thanks.

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

On this Trinity Sunday (Weekend) we look to the hope that is our one true God who has revealed himself as one divine essence, but also as three unique and coequal persons … Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!

We all love a joyful noise and a joyful noise is proclaimed to our God through singing, as was just proclaimed in the singing of the sermon hymn, The King of Love My Shepherd Is.

We sing of God’s goodness that never fails and our lacking nothing that we need, because he provides for all of body and soul in this life and in the life to come. The Father’s love is made known to us in his Son who hold’s us in the palm of his hands promising never to lose a single one – I am his and he is mine – forever!

This joy is yours and mine by the work of God’s Spirit. He points, directs and comforts so that we serve those in need joyfully and with glad hearts. A friend’s dad, Bill Wilstermann, once told me after church many years ago:

“When I’m feeling down and things seem to be going wrong I go and do something nice for someone and I feel a whole lot better!”

Come into his presence with singing!

We have a Call to Worship at 10:30. Maybe you know that and maybe you don’t. We sing it together with joyful hearts. Some unfortunately, have got in the habit of coming late - maybe getting here by greeting time or the opening hymn – You may miss a beautiful prelude before service and it’s not uncommon to have 15 people in the pews at the call to worship and 45 or more standing for the Closing hymn. Come for the call to worship, sing joyfully … you’ll be glad you did!

3 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;

To know the Lord is to know our Triune God as he has revealed himself to us through his word. God speaks to us through his word. His word read, sung and meditated upon reveals who he is and his love for us. The Spirit shines the light on Christ, the word made flesh, for you and me. We know him by his word and through the word he continues to be made known.

Matthew 11:28 King James Version (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 6:23 King James Version (KJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

At times I need to read the old King James for the majesty to conveys. As Judy Harroun has said of the late seminary Professor John Saleska who, having memorized much of the KJV bible, it is what will be spoken in heaven! The beginning and end of Reverend Saleska’s obituary speaks of his hope.

Rev. John Saleska, 87, whom God adopted as his own beloved child at his Baptism, now rests with Jesus, where he is waiting with all of us for the Resurrection that God promised him in Christ.

Revelation 21:4 King James Version (KJV)

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Dear friends, this is our Triune Gods hope for you and me as well!

No tears, no death, no sorrow, no crying, no pain … all gone.

We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
The Psalmist reminds us.

The Lord’s sheep know the shepherd and by the Holy Spirit we are his and know him. But like sheep we wonder from the truth.


Dr. Andrew Bonar told how, in the Highlands of Scotland, a sheep would often wander off into the rocks and get into places that they couldn't get out of. The grass on these mountains is very sweet and the sheep like it, and they will jump down ten or twelve feet, and then they can't jump back again, and the shepherd hears them bleating in distress. They may be there for days, until they have eaten all the grass. The shepherd will wait until they are so faint they cannot stand, and then they will put a rope around him, and he will go over and pull that sheep up out of the jaws of death. "Why don't they go down there when the sheep first gets there?" I asked. "Ah!" He said, "they are so very foolish they would dash right over the precipice and be killed if they did!" And that is the way with men; they won't [come] back to God till they have lost everything. 

If you are a wanderer I tell you that the Good Shepherd will pursue you and bring you back when you have given up trying [go it your own way and let the Spirit turn you back to Christ.]

Moody's Anecdotes, pp. 70-71.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!

John 1:11-13 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 He [Jesus] came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood [not who we are] nor of the will of the flesh [not the things we do] nor of the will of man, [or what others tell us we can do of ourselves] - but of God.

Born from above, born again, born of God!

You and I enter God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise by God’s work revealed in his son and the promise never fails. Hold on to it for dear life and proclaim it to your children and your grandchildren! Give them an example to model. Show your friends your faith and invite them to church. My friend Rob showed me the truth of God’s love in word and example. I in turn shared it with my friend Mark. Mark told me he went to the gas station for a coffee and the lady behind the counter who was African American had a cross around her neck. Mark who is Jewish said to her with his big Mark smile, “Are you my sister in the Lord?” She gave him a big smile and a hug.

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the LORD is good;

We who are broken in sin are made good in Christ. 

From verse 4 of The King of Love My Shepherd Is:

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill with thee, dear Lord beside me.
Thy rod and staff my comfort sill, thy cross before to guide me. Vs 4

Christ’s cross and work for you and me - guide and lead - in times of sorrow and joy. Father, Son and Holy Spirit united in our life now and for eternity.

The prophet Jeremiah heard this comfort from the Lord directly.

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

We hear it in the word proclaimed.

Our God knows you and he knows me and he has numbered our days and appointed us here for this time and for this work. We proclaim Christ because it is his desire for us to do so. His love for us will never fade and we are his forever.

his steadfast love endures forever, - his love is never ending!
and his faithfulness to all generations. – it is his promise for all!

God is faithful. He will continue dear friends to pursue you all the days of your life. Do not flee like Jonah, do not despair as Judas did taking his own life, but turn back as Peter did and give ear as the apostle Paul did so that the Lord might make himself known in your life to those who need to hear!

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


Monday, June 10, 2019

Sermon June 8-9, 2019 - Pentecost

Title: The Spirit of truth teaches, leads, and points to Christ!
Text: John 14:23-31

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The Day of Pentecost which we celebrate today begins the work of the church. In a dramatic way the Spirit comes.

2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The work of the church begins with the Spirit; the rushing wind, the fire, speaking in foreign tongues, hearing in one’s own language, quite a dramatic scene. The Festival of Weeks – grain harvest – those Jews gathered together in Jerusalem – and the Spirit comes just as Jesus had said 50 days after Easter and 10 days after Christ ascended.

In our gospel reading for today and in answer to the question, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest [make known] yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Love, Word, Father, Peace!

23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

Last week we learned that by the work of the Spirit we have unity with the Father and the Son but that Christ’s hope and purpose was that through this unity

the world may believe [may know] that you have sent me-and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:21b; 23b


A long marriage – say one of 50 years - does not in and of itself proclaim Christ to a world that needs to hear. But in the case of Pastor and Nancy Merrell, it is a testament to that faith in Christ and by the working of the Holy Spirit that we celebrate with them that reality today.

The blessing of a long marriage can be joy filled but also full of the ups and downs of life lived in the Spirit through the bonds of the flesh. The loss of dear loved ones is part of a long marriage. Parents, grandparents, siblings and dear friends are remembered fondly but with sadness at this time of separation but also this sadness is tempered with new joys we share with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, filling each day with the blessings that a long marriage can provide.

We celebrate with Pastor and Nancy this joy today and the hope for the future God has for them and their family, but also for the thankful joy of their service to our Lord and his mission by the Spirit’s work here at Peace for so many years.

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.


The Holy Spirit worked in the lives of those first disciples as the day of Pentecost came. Tongues of fire rested on the disciples.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 1:4

6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. Acts 1:6

By this working of the Spirit through the word Christ is made known.

St. Peter’s sermon to those first ears to hear the word of promise in a new way by the working of the Holy Spirit is proclaimed:

21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Acts 1:21

By the Spirit through the word many were brought to repentance, they were baptized and the fullness of the Holy Spirit was made new in the lives of these believers.

By that same Spirit those who wrote as they were led, bring the promise of Christ to we who hear today

39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:39


On Christ’s ascension we now build by the working of the Holy Spirit.
Proceeding from the Father and the Son the Spirit of truth brings to our remembrance all that Christ has said and done for us. By this working we know the unity of the Godhead in Christ and the Father’s love for you and me.

For we who have been blessed to be fathers also know the joys and trials of being sons.

At times punishment needed to be meted out. As my dad would often get home from work he would say to my mom, half jesting.

“Okay, line them up and tell me which one I need to hit.”

It was usually me, as the oldest, who had found some disfavor with my mom probably in relation to my siblings.

My dad would say, “Go to your room and wait for me!”

The word of truth from my father had both command and promise. It commanded me to go to my room with the promise that there would be a resolution in his favor!

After a long and tedious wait dad would come in usually with this question.
“Did you think about what you did?”
[Yes] You just nodded yes. You didn’t speak in his presence.
“Are you going to do it again?”
[No] Shaking head back and forth in the negative.

That’s repentance.

“You’re lucky your mom and I love you!” Dad would say, “Okay you can go play. But don’t do it again”

That’s forgiveness.

At lease it was until the next time I had to go to my room!

The Father’s love for you will never stop forgiving and by the Spirit’s work pointing you to Christ and all he’s done for you. He will continue to pursue you each day of your life through repentance for the purpose of forgiveness.


The Father and Son by the working of the Spirit have made their home with you. They dwell with you and in you because you are theirs. You keep the word by the working of the Spirit and when you fall short – and need to go to your room so to speak - the Spirit by the word draws you back to repentance so that God’s blessed forgiveness once again frees you from the burden of your sin and its consequences.

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

By God’s Spirit we have confidence in his work in us and his love for us so that though we wrestle and are burdened by sin, death and devil daily we have the hope of God’s victory for us now and always.

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


Monday, June 3, 2019

Sermon June 1-2, 2019

Title: Christ prayed and prays for you!
Text: John 17:20-26

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

In this the last Sunday in the Easter season we again continue with the Gospel of John as we have for the last few weeks. Let us review what Christ has been telling his disciples.

1. Jesus told them that he would die on the cross and rise on the third day.
2. The sorrow at his death would be replaced with joy at his resurrection.
3. That Jesus would be leaving them again and returning to the Father.
4. But he would send them the Holy Spirit to be their comforter until his promised return.

Unity in love and purpose is God’s desire through the word!

How many of you love family reunions? Seeing relatives you seldom see, going to the place of your youth, reminiscing of dear loved ones, and longing to see each other more often.

How many of you hate family reunions? Having little in common with those you are related to, annoying family habits that won’t go away, desiring to just get done with it and go home never to do this again.

We’ve probably all been caught up in both circumstances.

In Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John chapter 17 Jesus prays to the Father for his disciples and for all believers and their unity as he prepares to go to the cross.

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life,
that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

The unity that Jesus prays for is one not of externals but of internals. It is not the cookie cutter approach that says - this is a successful church because they have lots of people - do what they. Instead, it is Christ’s church in unity of faith, purpose and love through the word by the working of the Spirit.

In our gospel reading today Jesus’ prayer looks beyond those followers who have been with him to those who will believe through their word.

21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us,
that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one,

The oneness of faith and life is in Christ and the unity that he shares with the Father. Though one God they are uniquely different and separate yet one in love, will and purpose.

There also is a reason for Christ’s desire for unity.

so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Not that our faith may be a picture of unity but that our faith might proclaim that truth in a world that needs to hear. This is a perfect text against those who might feel that their faith is private and not to be shared or pushed upon others. You find you are fighting against Jesus will and prayer.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

Those first disciples were being sent with a message for the world. Just as Peter proclaimed in our first reading:

20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,
“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
“‘Let another take his office.’

26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

The church today continues in a similar way. Pastors are called to serve congregations. If another call is received and the pastor accepts that call the church prays that by the Holy Spirit another would take his place. All of this is for the same purpose to proclaim the word and equip the saints so that the world may believe and know.

There is a third part to Jesus’ prayer.

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am

Christ’s desire is for the eternal welfare of his followers.

to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

This glory is pictured in our second reading:

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

This is quite a different scene from the one in Genesis 3 when man was banished and sent out from the Garden of Eden.

Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

In a sense it is why those family reunions can at times be both joyful for some and dreaded by others, because in this life the wages of sin continue to affect every part of life. Perfect unity of will and purpose in this life still deals with this reality.

But, the banishment for sin is now overcome by the word of truth in the mouths of his disciples. Jesus has died and has been raised and by the Spirit the word of truth takes seed in the hearts of his hearers.

Our gospel reading concludes.

25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known,

And Jesus finishes with another statement of purpose …

[So] that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

The truth of the word that is in you needs to be heard. By your proclamation those who hear receive the Holy Spirit, believe and are promised the unity in Christ that we have.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

Unity in love and purpose is God’s desire through the word!

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