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  • "Your Committed and Determined King" (Sermon for Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion, on Mark 11; 14)

    03/28/2015 10:23:49 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | March 29, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Your Committed and Determined King” (Mark 11:1-10; 14:12-26)Today is a Sunday that goes by two names, “Palm Sunday” and the “Sunday of the Passion.” As such, we get readings for both of these emphases. There is the Palm Sunday Processional Gospel at the start of the service, the account of Jesus riding into Jerusalem with palm branches spread before him. And there is the longer reading of the Passion of Our Lord, giving us an overview of the events later in Holy Week, through Jesus’ suffering and death. And as I looked over these two readings, something jumped out at...
  • "The Tree of Life in the Paradise of God" (Sermon on Revelation 21:22 – 22:5, 22:14)

    03/26/2015 2:44:25 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | March 25, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Tree of Life in the Paradise of God” (Revelation 21:22 – 22:5, 22:14) And so we come full circle. One month ago, we began this series on “The Tree of Life” back there, at the tree of life in the garden. Now tonight we end up back where we started, once again at the tree of life. This is the story of the Bible, how we got away from the tree of life in the beginning, and how we end up at the tree of life in the end. The opening chapters of Genesis and the closing chapters of...
  • "To Serve and to Give His Life as a Ransom" (Sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, on Mark 10:32-45)

    03/22/2015 1:57:26 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | March 22, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “To Serve and to Give His Life as a Ransom” (Mark 10:32-45) These boys just don’t get it. The disciples, I mean. There’s a whole lot of misunderstanding going on in our text for today, the Holy Gospel from Mark 10, and it’s the disciples who don’t get it. They don’t understand what Jesus is telling them about why they’re going up to Jerusalem. They don’t understand about glory or greatness. They don’t understand suffering or servanthood. You know, maybe we don’t understand these things fully, either. But fortunately for the disciples--and for us--there is one person in this story...
  • "A Growing Tree" (Sermon on Ezekiel 17:22-24; Matthew 13:31-32)

    03/20/2015 7:55:59 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | March 18, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “A Growing Tree” (Ezekiel 17:22-24; Matthew 13:31-32)The image of a tree, which may have started out rather small and insignificant, but which grows and expands until it becomes a very large tree, with branches and leaves where the birds of the air come to make their nests--this is an image that is used in a number of places in the Bible. And it is generally used to signify the rise and growth of a kingdom, a kingdom that grows and expands to include many nations in its empire. For example, in the Book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has...
  • "By Grace You Have Been Saved" (Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, on Ephesians 2:1-10)

    03/15/2015 4:31:57 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | March 15, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “By Grace You Have Been Saved” (Ephesians 2:1-10) Our Epistle reading for today is one of the outstanding passages in all of Scripture for putting together in one package several important realities. And they are: man’s natural condition; God’s great love and kindness in saving us; how that salvation comes to us as a gift; and then the result of what God has done for us in how we lead our lives. And there’s a key phrase that is repeated in this passage and that sums all this up, and it will serve as our theme this morning: “By Grace...
  • "A Fruitful Tree" (Sermon on Galatians 5:16-25; John 15:1-5; Psalm 1)

    03/14/2015 12:32:33 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 5 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | March 11, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “A Fruitful Tree” (Galatians 5:16-25; John 15:1-5; Psalm 1)We just heard a bunch of readings from a variety of places in the Bible--Psalm 1, Proverbs, Jeremiah, Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and words of Jesus from the gospels of St. Luke and St. John--and all of these readings, about trees bearing fruit. This is an image of course of people and the fruits or works that they produce in their lives. Now the first thing to recognize is that we all bear fruit. We all produce works in our lives. The question is, though: What kind of fruit are we...
  • "The Cross of Christ, the Tree of Life" (Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent, on 1 Cor. 1:18-31)

    03/08/2015 3:06:51 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 8 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | March 8, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Cross of Christ, the Tree of Life” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)What a joy it is to be back here in the house of the Lord! Because of the snow and ice, we lost four out of the first five services we had scheduled this Lent: Ash Wednesday; the First Sunday in Lent; the Second Sunday in Lent; and then this past Wednesday, what was to be our second midweek service. But we were able to have the first midweek service, in our series called “The Tree of Life.” And since we didn’t get to do the second message in that...
  • Five Things the Church Wishes the Culture Understood

    03/04/2015 4:56:08 PM PST · by RebelBanker · 7 replies
    Lutheran Witness ^ | 5/3/2015 | J. Patrick Niles
    This post has been a long time in the making. For the past decade, every time I read a post by some avant-garde religious/church-planting/emergent/post-modern blogger, I think, “Hmmmmm. I should respond to that.” Then kids need diaper changes, sermons need to be written and shut-ins need to be visited. Right now, however, I have some time to write a response. Time and time again, I have read blog posts about how the church is doing church wrong. The church is a victim of its ambivalence toward its own perpetual exclusivity of the present generation who has needs that are not...
  • "A Tale of Two Trees" (Sermon on Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-24)

    02/26/2015 8:27:03 AM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 8 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | February 25, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “A Tale of Two Trees” (Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17; 3:1-24) This is “A Tale of Two Trees.” Oh, there were a whole bunch of other trees besides, lots of them, but this story will focus on just two. Our story begins back in the garden, the garden of Eden, that is. There the Lord God had formed the man from the dust of the earth, and he gave the man the authority and the responsibility to take care of it. The Lord was very generous toward the man, withholding nothing, providing him with everything he needed, in abundance. There were lots...
  • "The Transfiguration: The Bridge between Epiphany and Lent" (Sermon on Mark 9:2-9)

    02/15/2015 12:37:28 AM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | February 15, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Transfiguration: The Bridge between Epiphany and Lent” (Mark 9:2-9) Today is the Festival of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, remembering that day when our Lord Jesus Christ was transfigured, that is, his appearance was changed, up on a mountain. This was a key event in our Lord’s life, and it marked a turning point, a pivot point, in his ministry. So, likewise, does this festival mark a turning point, a pivot point, in the church year calendar. Transfiguration comes at the end of the Epiphany season, just a few days before the beginning of Lent. The church year mirrors...
  • "Jesus Comes Today with Healing" (Sermon for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, on Mark 1:29-39)

    02/07/2015 6:37:30 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | February 8, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Jesus Comes Today with Healing” (Mark 1:29-39) Well, look at all those people Jesus healed! On a Sabbath afternoon, Simon Peter’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and Jesus healed her. And then that evening at sundown, after the Sabbath was ended, people brought a whole bunch of sick people to Jesus, and he healed them. So it didn’t matter if you had a Saturday Day Fever or a Saturday Night Fever, Jesus could heal you. “They brought to him all who were sick,” our text says, “And he healed many who were sick with various diseases.” Boy, it would...
  • "The Amazing, Astonishing Authority of Jesus" (Sermon, Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, Mark 1:21-28)

    01/31/2015 9:34:07 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 7 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | February 1, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Amazing, Astonishing Authority of Jesus” (Mark 1:21-28)Authority. What is your reaction when you hear that word, “authority”? I’m guessing that many of us would have a negative reaction to it. We Americans, in our culture, tend not to like authority. Especially since the 1960s, all forms of authority at every level of our society have been torn down. We don’t like anyone having authority or exercising it over us. And to a degree, that’s understandable. We don’t like anyone telling us what to do. “You’re not the boss of me!” we would say. But now today I would like...
  • The ELCA and Abortion

    01/23/2015 10:13:29 AM PST · by rhema · 38 replies
    Catholic Stand ^ | 1/21/15 | JoAnna Wahlund
    A while ago, I read a blog post over at First Things that was a blast from my past. The author, a Lutheran pastor, recently left the ELCA to become a member of the newly-formed North American Lutheran Church (NALC). He said, “My real disaffection with the ELCA didn’t start with sex. It began in earnest over the ELCA abortion statement and the subsequent decision by the national council to treat elective abortion for pastors and dependents as a reimbursable medical expense under the church health plan.” It was this exact issue that was my first step on the path...
  • "Repent, Believe, and Follow" (Sermon for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, on Mark 1:14-20)

    01/24/2015 11:40:28 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 25, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Repent, Believe, and Follow” (Mark 1:14-20)In the early chapters of the gospels, we track Jesus’ early ministry, as he goes about Galilee, preaching, teaching, and healing. As sort of a subset of his healing ministry, Jesus also casts out demons. And interspersed among these accounts, Jesus also gathers disciples to himself. And so it is that today and for the next two weeks we get such accounts of Jesus’ early ministry from the first chapter of Mark. Today we get a sample of Jesus’ preaching and his calling disciples. Next week we will see Jesus casting out an unclean spirit....
  • "Glorify God in Your Body" (Sermon for Second Sunday after the Epiphany; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

    01/17/2015 9:25:54 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 5 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 18, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Glorify God in Your Body” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20)“Flee from sexual immorality.” “Glorify God in your body.” Now those are two direct quotations from today’s Epistle reading, 1 Corinthians 6. “Flee from sexual immorality.” “Glorify God in your body.” Two imperatives, two commands, telling us what to do. Are they true? Yes, of course. This is what we should do, both things. One is stated in terms of what we should flee from. The other is stated in terms of what we should positively do. But now suppose this was all that Paul had to say to us here. “Flee from...
  • "Something in the Water" (Sermon for the Baptism of Our Lord; Mark 1; Romans 6; Genesis 1)

    01/10/2015 5:14:32 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 10 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 11, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Something in the Water” (Mark 1:4-11; Romans 6:1-11; Genesis 1:1-5)I don’t listen to pop music or country music on the radio, but recently I read that there is a song that’s popular on the airwaves right now that makes some references to baptism. That caught my attention, naturally, so I looked it up and listened to it online. It’s a song called “Something in the Water,” by a singer named Carrie Underwood. I don’t know if you’ve heard it or not. But it does have to do with baptism. Now very likely it’s coming from a theological perspective on baptism...
  • "What's the Big Deal about Epiphany?" (Matthew 2:1-12)

    01/06/2015 10:21:34 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 7 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 6, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrikcson
    “What’s the Big Deal about Epiphany?” (Matthew 2:1-12)“What’s the Big Deal about Epiphany?” I mean, what’s so special about this festival that we should have a special service for it, and on a day other than Sunday? In January, no less! In the cold! Really, so what’s the big deal? Why bother having a service on this date? There are several reasons I could mention. First of all, there is the history of it. The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord, celebrated on this date, January 6, immediately after the twelve days of Christmas--Epiphany has been a major festival...
  • "A Twelve-Year-Old Boy, Filled with Wisdom" (Sermon, Second Sunday after Christmas, Luke 2:40-52)

    01/03/2015 9:15:49 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 7 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 4, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “A Twelve-Year-Old Boy, Filled with Wisdom” (Luke 2:40-52) When I was twelve years old, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Pretty impressive, eh? No, pretty stupid, actually. Because, at twelve years old, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon . . . without telling anyone. Let me explain. This was back in the days of train travel, and my mother, grandmother, sister, and I were taking the train from Chicago to Los Angeles for a family reunion. When we got to Arizona, there was an option to get off the train, get on a bus,...
  • "Depart in Peace" (Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas, on Luke 2:22-40)

    12/27/2014 8:06:15 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 28, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Depart in Peace” (Luke 2:22-40)Are you ready to go? What I mean is, are you ready to leave? No, I don’t mean right at this very moment. It would be nice if you would stick around till the end of the service. But then, at the end of the service, will you be ready to leave? By that I mean, will you be ready to leave in peace, satisfied and content and ready for whatever comes next? What makes you ready to leave, to leave any situation? For instance, this year is coming to a close. Are you ready to...
  • "Watershed Moments: Jesus' Birth and Our Own" (Sermon for Christmas Day; John 1:1-18, Titus 3:4-7)

    12/25/2014 2:27:10 AM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 25, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Watershed Moments: Jesus’ Birth and Our Own” (John 1:1-18; Titus 3:4-7)Today is Christmas Day. This is the day for celebrating the greatest birth in the history of the world, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The birth of Christ marks the watershed moment in all of human history. By a “watershed moment,” I mean a moment so significant that it marks a division between what went before and what comes after. And so it is with the birth of Christ. We even divide up time according to it: “B.C.,” “Before Christ,” and “A.D.,” “Anno Domini,” “In the...
  • "What Christmas Is All About: God Saving Us, in a Humble Way, to Be His People" (Sermon)

    12/24/2014 9:41:53 AM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 7 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 24, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “What Christmas Is All About: God Saving Us, in a Humble Way, to Be His People” (Luke 2:1-20; Titus 2:11-14; Isaiah 9:2-7) What is Christmas all about? How do people view Christmas and celebrate it? Why do they look forward to it? Or do they? Some people get burned out on Christmas and want to avoid it. But most folks still like to maintain the custom of celebrating Christmas. Why? What is it about this holiday that makes it so special? I think there is something about this holiday that is special, but it may not be the same as...
  • "Mary, What DID You Know?" (Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, on Luke 1:26-38)

    12/20/2014 9:29:33 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 21, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Mary, What DID You Know?” (Luke 1:26-38)Every year several of the radio stations in St. Louis start playing nothing but Christmas music. I think they start sometime around mid-August, but that’s beside the point. They play Christmas music, and a few of the songs even have something to do with the birth of Christ. Yes, it’s true! And one of the most popular of these songs is a song called, “Mary, Did You Know?” You’ve probably heard it, I’m guessing. The idea of the song is that someone is asking Mary, the mother of our Lord, if she knew what...
  • "The Great Christmas Gift Exchange" (Advent sermon on Isaiah 61:1-4, 10-11)

    12/18/2014 12:24:48 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 6 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 17, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Great Christmas Gift Exchange” (Isaiah 61:1-4, 10-11) There is a game that is played at this time of year at Christmas parties all across the land. The game goes by several names, but I think most often it is called “Rob Your Neighbor,” and I’m sure many of you have played it. The rules may vary from place to place, but generally I think it goes something like this. Each person brings a gift that could go to anyone in the group, depending on how the game turns out. The gift is wrapped in a package, so you can’t...
  • "Who Are You, John?" (Sermon for the Third Sunday in Advent, on John 1:6-8, 19-28)

    12/14/2014 1:40:01 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 14, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Who Are You, John?” (John 1:6-8, 19-28) How would you like to be defined in terms of someone else? I mean, who you are, your life and identity--when people think of you, they always compare you to somebody else? Are you like this person? Are you like that person? I suppose it could get old after a while. Why can’t people just take you for who you are, on your own terms? Well, today we’ll meet someone whose life was always being defined in terms of someone else. And you know what? He was okay with it. And so this...
  • "Comfort, Comfort My People" (Sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent, on Isaiah 40:1-11)

    12/07/2014 12:16:41 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 7, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Comfort, Comfort My People” (Isaiah 40:1-11)“Comfort, comfort my people.” Yes, comfort. A word so nice, they said it twice. Who did? Why, Isaiah did. Well, actually God said it, through his prophet Isaiah. You heard it at the start of today’s Old Testament Reading from Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,” etc. God wants his preachers to bring comfort to his people, to speak tenderly to his church. And so this is what God has sent me to do here today for you. He says, “Comfort, Comfort My People.” Comfort: Today I want...
  • "Restore Us, O God" (Advent sermon on Psalms 80, 85, 126)

    12/03/2014 8:21:28 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 3, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Restore Us, O God” (Psalms 80, 85, 126)We’ve just heard three psalms that are appointed for this Advent season, Psalms 80, 85, and 126. Did you happen to catch what they have in common? There was a connecting theme running through all three of these psalms. And here it is. It is the prayer, in one form or another, that goes something like this: “Restore Us, O God.” In Psalm 126, we heard of a previous restoration: “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.” And then the psalmist prays that the Lord would...
  • "A Prayer to the God Who Acts" (Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, on Isaiah 64:1-9)

    11/30/2014 3:57:28 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 30, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “A Prayer to the God Who Acts” (Isaiah 64:1-9) Today is the First Sunday in Advent, the first day of a brand new church year. And this season of Advent is a time of waiting, a time of penitential preparation, as we wait for the coming of our King. Christ is coming, our Savior and Redeemer. We prepare for the celebration of our Savior’s birth at Christmas. And we wait for his coming again at the end of this age. Advent is a time for remembering God’s promises to send a Savior. It is a time to repent of our...
  • "A Very Ferguson Thanksgiving" (Sermon on Habakkuk 1:2-4, 9-11; 3:17-19)

    11/26/2014 12:28:16 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 12 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 27, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “A Very Ferguson Thanksgiving” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, 9-11; 3:17-19)I’m sure many of us were watching on our televisions the other night when we saw what was supposed to be a peaceful protest in Ferguson suddenly and not unexpectedly turn quite unpeaceful. Looters started breaking store windows and stealing what they could get their hands on. Arsonists began to torch buildings and cars and burn them to the ground. Rioters were running wild and not much was being done to stop them. Now suppose you were one of those business owners whose store was looted or burned. Or maybe you worked at...
  • "Separating the Sheep from the Goats" (Sermon on Matthew 25:31-46)

    11/22/2014 11:00:46 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 23, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Separating the Sheep from the Goats” (Matthew 25:31-46) Judgment Day is coming! Are you ready? This is an important question, because the Day of Judgment is indeed coming, and you will be judged. Now that judgment could be positive or it could be negative, but you will be judged. In fact, everybody will be judged, all the people who have ever lived. Many people don’t want to hear this, but it is the truth. The Holy Scriptures throughout teach that there will be a final judgment, that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming again from heaven to do the judging,...
  • "Christ Has Brought Us out of Darkness" (Sermon and hymn on 1 Thess. 5; Matt. 25; Zeph. 1)

    11/16/2014 6:47:39 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 6 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 16, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Christ Has Brought Us out of Darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30; Zephaniah 1:7-16) Well, here we are in the middle of November. It’s cold. It’s dark outside. The trees are growing bare. The days are growing shorter. The earth seems to be dying. Darkness seems to be winning. So it seems appropriate that at this time of year--every year, in November--in the church we focus our attention on the end times. We’re coming toward the end of the church year, before Advent comes and we start all over again. The end times, the last things, Judgment Day, the Second...
  • "The True Rapture" (Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

    11/09/2014 11:58:20 AM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 33 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 9, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The True Rapture” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) Maybe you remember a bumper sticker that was popular a few years back, which read: “In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned.” What that bumper sticker meant is the idea that when Jesus comes again, all the Christians alive on earth at that time will be “beamed up” suddenly, leaving the rest of the people on earth behind. That’s why the cars and airplanes and so forth will be vacated when the Christians vanish. This is the so-called “Rapture theory,” and it has been the basis of a veritable industry of popular...
  • "Justification: The Heart of the Reformation" (Sermon for Reformation Day, on Romans 3:19-28)

    10/26/2014 2:02:43 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 18 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | October 26, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Justification: The Heart of the Reformation” (Romans 3:19-28) Today is the last Sunday in October, and so we are observing Reformation Day. It will be 497 years ago this Friday, on October 31, 1517, that Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, thus setting in motion the great Reformation of the Christian church. We are the heirs of that Reformation, blessed to be so, and so we join with faithful Lutherans all around the globe in celebrating that historic event and all the blessings of pure doctrine and sound practice that came...
  • "Render--But Don't Surrender--unto Caesar" (Sermon on Matthew 22:15-22)

    10/18/2014 10:16:31 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 19 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | October 19, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Render--But Don’t Surrender--unto Caesar” (Matthew 22:15-22) “Render unto Caesar”: I think most of us have heard that expression. In fact, I would say that most Americans, whether they’re in the church or not, have heard it. “Render unto Caesar.” The average person might say: “Let’s see, I think that has something to do with what we’re supposed to owe the government.” And they would be right. It does have to do with what we owe the government. But don’t stop the saying there. It goes on, you know. “Render unto Caesar . . . the things that are Caesar’s.” And...
  • Why I stand with the Houston Five (LCMS in solidarity with Houston pastors)

    10/18/2014 6:48:58 AM PDT · by chajin · 24 replies
    Religion News Service ^ | October 17, 2014 | Scott R. Murray
    HOUSTON (RNS) Recently, Houston city attorneys, acting on behalf of Mayor Annise Parker and the City Council, issued subpoenas to five area pastors requiring they hand over copies of all communication with members of their congregations about a gay rights ordinance. The subpoena asks for communications from the pastors related to the mayor, the ordinance, and “gender equality” issues. What are pastors to do when coerced by a government entity like the city of Houston? It seems to me that there are a two possible responses: one from a Christian pastor, who serves in Christ’s kingdom, and another from a...
  • "Decliners and Recliners" (Sermon on Matthew 22:1-14)

    10/12/2014 12:20:33 AM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | October 12, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Decliners and Recliners” (Matthew 22:1-14)Do you ever get an invitation to an event--a party, say--and they ask you to RSVP? So you check your calendar, and you see you’ve got a schedule conflict, and so you’ve got to decline the invitation. There’s something more important going on that day--you’ve got to work, or a family obligation--just something that’s a higher priority to you than going to that party. But now say you’ve gotten an invitation to a party, and it’s from someone who you know throws the best parties around--fabulous dinner parties, with the best food, the finest wine, gifts...
  • Brain Cancer Will Likely Kill Me, But There’s No Way I’ll Kill Myself

    10/10/2014 7:27:18 AM PDT · by Gamecock · 29 replies
    The Federalist ^ | October 10, 2014 | Maggie Karner
    ’m not surprised that an Oct. 6, 2014 article by Nicole Weisensee Egan—titled “Terminally Ill 29-Year Old Woman: Why I’m Choosing to Die on My Own Terms” featuring a well-produced video found on People.com—has gone viral. The video, which features interviews of Brittany Maynard and her family members, is very emotional. Maynard, who was diagnosed this past spring, suffers from a stage-four gliobastoma multiforme brain tumor. She has a very aggressive form of brain cancer, and it is difficult to control its growth. In her video story, she describes how she was diagnosed and relates her understanding that the glioblastoma...
  • "St. Paul's Rubbish Sale" (Sermon on Philippians 3:4b-13)

    10/05/2014 12:00:46 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | October 5, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “St. Paul’s Rubbish Sale” (Philippians 3:4b-13) Yesterday our Ladies’ Guild here at St. Matthew’s held a rummage sale. You know how a rummage sale works. People donate their old, obsolete items that they don’t want or need anymore, and then those items are resold, usually at a much lower price than the original purchase price. And when I say much lower, I mean much lower! I saw a television set downstairs that someone may have paid a couple hundred bucks for originally, but now it was being sold for a mere $5.00. And that was at the start of the...
  • "You Shine as Lights in the World" (Sermon on Philippians 2:1-18)

    09/27/2014 10:14:14 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | September 28, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “You Shine as Lights in the World” (Philippians 2:1-18) In our Epistle for today, from Philippians 2, St. Paul appeals to us Christians to live as who we are, namely, “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.” Did you hear that? “You Shine as Lights in the World.” Yes, you do! And today we’ll find out why and how. But before you can shine, first you have to be children of God. How did that happen? God...
  • "Following Jesus with St. Matthew" (Sermon on Matthew 9:9-13)

    09/21/2014 4:24:09 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 7 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | September 21, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Following Jesus with St. Matthew” (Matthew 9:9-13)On the church year calendar, September 21 is the day for commemorating St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. And since this year September 21 falls on a Sunday, today we are celebrating the Festival of St. Matthew. Who exactly was this St. Matthew, you ask, and why should we remember him? Well, first of all, as to who he is, as I mentioned, we refer to him as St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Each of those terms, apostle and evangelist, puts Matthew in pretty select company. St. Matthew is an apostle, and there were only...
  • "But We Preach Christ Crucified" (Sermon for Holy Cross Day, on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

    09/13/2014 10:27:21 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | September 14, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “But We Preach Christ Crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25) You’ll notice that the color of our paraments today is red--in other words, something different from the ordinary green that we use in the non-festival half of the church year. This means that we’re observing a special festival today, one that happens to fall on a Sunday this year. And this festival is called Holy Cross Day. What is Holy Cross Day, you ask? Well, let me tell you the background of this observance. Back in the early 300s, the Roman Emperor Constantine became a Christian. Then in the year 326, his...
  • "Love Is the Fulfilling of the Law" (Sermon on Romans 13:1-10)

    09/07/2014 5:23:07 AM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | September 7, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Love Is the Fulfilling of the Law” (Romans 13:1-10)Do you want to know what you should be doing this week? I can tell you with sure confidence what God’s will is for you this week. It’s pretty simple, actually. I can sum it up in one word: Love. That’s right. Love. In terms of how you deal with the people you encounter this week, that’s about the size of it: Love them. How can I be so sure of this? Because God’s Word tells me this is so, that this is God’s will for each one of us. It’s no...
  • "Peter Gets the 'Who' But Not the 'How'" (Sermon on Matthew 16:21-28)

    08/31/2014 2:15:07 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 5 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | August 31, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Peter Gets the ‘Who’ But Not the ‘How’” (Matthew 16:21-28)Last week’s Gospel was Matthew 16:13-20. Today’s Gospel is the verses that follow, Matthew 16:21-28. Last week we heard Peter say something that brought a hearty commendation from Jesus, who told Peter that he was the rock on which he would build his church. This week Peter says something that brings a harsh rebuke from Jesus, with Jesus basically calling Peter “Satan” and telling him to get behind him. So in just a few verses, Peter goes from commendation to rebuke, from being called a rock to being called Satan. What...
  • "Jesus and the Church: Inseparable" (Sermon on Matthew 16:13-20)

    08/23/2014 10:55:07 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 7 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | August 24, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Jesus and the Church: Inseparable” (Matthew 16:13-20) “I love your Christ, but I dislike your Christianity.” That is a quote that has been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, the leading figure from India of the 20th century. Sometimes it’s quoted as “I like your Jesus. I don’t like your Christians.” Or something like that. Whether Gandhi actually said this or not, the point is the same: Some people want to have Jesus--or at least the Jesus of their imagination--they want to have Jesus, but without the church. They try to pit the two against each other, Jesus and the church. Now...
  • "Jesus and People on the Fringe" (Sermon on Matthew 15:21-28)

    08/16/2014 8:25:22 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 8 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | August 17, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Jesus and People on the Fringe” (Matthew 15:21-28)People on the fringe. That’s what you might call them. People on the fringe of respectable society. Sometimes beyond the fringe. These are not the good, upstanding people who have their act all together and are living their best life now. No, these are people with problems in their life. People who have gotten off track and maybe now are regretting the bad choices they have made. Perhaps they’re looking for a better way, but they don’t know where to find it. People on the fringe. And guess what? Jesus specialized in dealing...
  • "The Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat" (Sermon on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

    07/20/2014 11:10:46 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 10 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | July 20, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat” (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) Last week we heard the Parable of the Sower, from Matthew 13. Today it’s the Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat, also from Matthew 13. In fact, Matthew 13 is a chapter full of parables, seven of them altogether. Some of these parables are shorter, some are longer. Some are explained by Jesus, some of them are left unexplained. Today’s parable is one of the longer ones, and Jesus does explain it. So now let’s consider this parable and what Jesus is saying to us in it, in...
  • "When Sowing the Seed Seems Useless" (Sermon on Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)

    07/12/2014 9:35:52 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 9 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | July 13, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “When Sowing the Seed Seems Useless” (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)It can be very discouraging to be a Christian these days. It seems like our whole culture has turned against the Christian faith. It can be very discouraging to be a member of a congregation these days. It seems like every church all across the country is having to deal with lower attendance and financial difficulties. It can be very discouraging to be a pastor these days. It seems like all your work is falling on deaf ears, and you wonder where the zeal for the gospel is, even among your own...
  • "Rest for the Heavy Laden" (Sermon on Matthew 11:25-30; Romans 7:14-25a)

    07/05/2014 2:03:24 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | July 6, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Rest for the Heavy Laden” (Matthew 11:25-30; Romans 7:14-25a)In New York Harbor there stands a famous statue, the Statue of Liberty. In her one hand, Lady Liberty is holding a tablet bearing the date July 4, 1776, the day of America’s founding. In her other hand, she is holding aloft a torch, symbolizing liberty enlightening the world. In the harbor, the Statue of Liberty stands right next to Ellis Island, our nation’s largest immigration station for many years. Millions of immigrants made the long sea voyage from Europe in those days and came through Ellis Island, passing the Statue of...
  • The Wait Is Over: Supreme Court Ruling Emboldens Us to Continue to Carry On

    07/01/2014 4:47:41 AM PDT · by rhema · 38 replies
    LCMS.org ^ | June 30, 2014 | Rev. Matthew C. Harrison
    Two years ago, I sat on a panel before Congress, testifying to the importance of religious liberty in America today. It seems like a long time ago. Since then, we have seen and heard a steady stream of news, from the church and the culture, about the Health and Human Services’ mandate and the Affordable Care Act, abortifacients and the conscience, religious freedoms and what this means for women. Thankfully, the wait is over. The Supreme Court has ruled, and the verdict is in: In a landmark case, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of religious liberty, specifically in regard...
  • "St. Peter and St. Paul: Losing Their Lives for Jesus' Sake" (Sermon on Matthew 10:38-39)

    06/28/2014 10:44:12 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 5 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | June 29, 2014 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “St. Peter and St. Paul: Losing Their Lives for Jesus’ Sake” (Matthew 10:38-39)Today is the Third Sunday after Pentecost, but it is also June 29. And June 29 is the day in the church year for observing the Festival of St. Peter and St. Paul, Apostles. So that is what we are doing today. We just sang the hymn “By All Your Saints in Warfare” with the stanza for St. Peter and St. Paul. We heard lessons from Acts, 2 Timothy, and the Gospel of John that prominently feature Peter and Paul. We used those readings in place of the...
  • Restore Latin to the Mass [Lutheran / LCMS Mass, that is]

    06/26/2014 2:47:24 AM PDT · by markomalley · 82 replies
    The Jagged Word ^ | 6/24/2014 | Rev. Graham Glover
    It’s been roughly 500 years since Martin Luther introduced the language of the people to the Mass – the Divine Liturgy of the Church. 500 years since the historic language of the Western Church was purged from the worship of God’s people. As a student of history, I understand why Luther thought this was necessary. Indeed, there is goodness in hearing and understanding the Liturgy in one’s native tongue. But Luther’s experiment with language should end. It’s time to restore Latin to the Mass of the Western Church. It’s time to reintroduce the language of the Church to her people.For...