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Keyword: lutheran

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  • "Receiving God's Gifts: Grumbling or Grateful?" (Sermon on Exodus 16, John 6, Ephesians 4)

    08/01/2015 11:00:05 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | August 2, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Receiving God’s Gifts: Grumbling or Grateful?” (Exodus 16:2-15; John 6:22-35; Ephesians 4:1-16)There is a theme that runs through all three of our lessons today. Did you spot it? It is the theme of God’s gifts. In the reading from Exodus, in the reading from Ephesians, and in the reading from John--in each of those readings, God is busy giving gifts to his people. Our God is a gracious and giving God, there is no doubt about that. But how God’s people receive his gifts--how we receive the gifts God gives to us--now that can be quite another question. Do we...
  • The LCMS Calls a Post a Post

    07/22/2015 11:08:55 AM PDT · by NRx · 35 replies
    Chronicles ^ | 07-21-2015 | Aaron D. Wol
    If the role of religion in America today is to teach the faithful to bend over and kiss the ring of postmodernity and beg for forgiveness for actually believing something, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod just failed spectacularly, flubbed its lines, and fell off the stage. I, for one, am elated. Tuesday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed the grand faux pas with this somewhat ironic lede: “The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod recently carried out what various members consider the equivalent of a modern-day heresy trial.” My enthusiasm is, of course, mixed with sadness. The Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker (the hero/victim of the breathlessly...
  • "God's Building Project" (Sermon on Ephesians 2:11-22)

    07/18/2015 10:51:01 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | July 19, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “God’s Building Project” (Ephesians 2:11-22) “Built on the Rock the Church shall stand.” “Christ is our cornerstone.” “The Church’s one foundation.” These hymns that we’re singing this morning--they’re all drawing on the imagery of our text today, the Epistle reading from Ephesians 2, specifically, from verses 19-22: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in...
  • "Blessings in Christ: Past, Present, and Future" (Sermon on Ephesians 1:3-14)

    07/11/2015 8:01:12 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | July 12, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Blessings in Christ: Past, Present, and Future” (Ephesians 1:3-14)Today is the beginning of eight straight weeks in which the Epistle reading is a portion of St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. And at the same time, as soon as we wrap up our study of Mark, I plan to start Ephesians for our Bible class on Sunday mornings. So I encourage you to read through this wonderful epistle, perhaps even a couple of times, over these coming weeks. If I had to choose my favorite epistle in the New Testament, I just might pick Ephesians. There is so much here,...
  • "Prophets without Honor" (Sermon on Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6:1-13; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

    07/04/2015 10:26:45 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 5 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | July 5, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Prophets without Honor” (Ezekiel 2:1-5; Mark 6:1-13; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10)“Prophets without Honor.” That’s what we see in our readings today, in the lessons from Ezekiel, Mark, and 2 Corinthians. “Prophets without Honor.” That’s what we see in our world today--that’s what we see in our nation today. And who are these prophets who do not receive the honor befitting the message that they bring? Well, guess what? It’s us, we in the church, who bring the word of God. So it behooves today to listen now, as we consider the trials--and the blessing--of being “Prophets without Honor.” Scene 1, 600...
  • Lutheran pastor says Jews to blame for destroying Christian values after US approves gay marriage

    06/29/2015 7:16:05 AM PDT · by Borges · 130 replies
    Jerusalem Post ^ | 6/29/2015 | RO YEGER
    Mark Dankof, a Lutheran pastor and political activist, declared the Jews to blame for the Supreme Court's ruling on Friday which declared any law to ban gay marriage unconstitutional. Speaking to reporters from Iran's Press TV, Dankof insisted that Jewish influence and money were being used to destroy Christian culture and values globally. "It should not be ignored that the victories for abortion on demand and LGBT rights are reflective of the disproportionate influence of Jewish power, money, and activism in the United States," he declared. “The key Jewish role played in the mainstreaming of abortion, LGBT, and pornography in...
  • "A Flow of Blood and a Rising from the Dead" (Sermon on Mark 5:21-43)

    06/27/2015 9:37:02 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | June 28, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “A Flow of Blood and a Rising from the Dead” (Mark 5:21-43)Two women, forever bound together in Holy Scripture. Two women, one an adult, suffering from a flow of blood for twelve years; the other a young girl, twelve years old, dead, but then rising from the dead. Two women, afflicted by disease and death as we all are. And yet two women, both saved, delivered, and healed, in the same way that we are. And so our theme this morning, “A Flow of Blood and a Rising from the Dead.” Our text is the Holy Gospel for today, from...
  • "Keep Calm, Jesus Is in the Boat" (Sermon on Mark 4:35-41)

    06/20/2015 6:51:00 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 13 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | June 21, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Keep Calm, Jesus Is in the Boat” (Mark 4:35-41)“Be still, my soul.” Oh, really? You don’t know what I’m going through! My life is a wreck! My finances are in free-fall. My health--oh, don’t get me started! It’s just one thing after another. First it’s this, then it’s that--I get one thing fixed, and then something else goes wrong. Relationships gone wrong, too. Loneliness, despair, depression. Well, and then there’s what’s going on in the news. A shooting in South Carolina, nine innocent people killed--in a church yet! Where was God in this? Asleep at the switch? Doesn’t he watch...
  • Michigan legislature protects adoption agencies

    06/16/2015 8:06:17 PM PDT · by Morgana · 1 replies
    onenewsnow.com ^ | Friday, June 12, 2015 | Charlie Butts
    Michigan has moved to protect the religious freedom of adoption agencies. Both houses of the Michigan legislature passed the bill in recent days and Gov. Rick Snyder signed it into law Thursday. Gary Glenn, a state representative and head of the American Family Association of Michigan, says the law protects faith-based adoption agencies so they can continue to provide adoption referral services to the state and to local governments without violating their religious convictions.
  • "Different Opinions about Jesus--and His Followers" (Sermon on Mark 3:20-35)

    06/07/2015 1:30:16 AM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | June 7, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Different Opinions about Jesus--and His Followers” (Mark 3:20-35)In the Holy Gospel for today we encounter people expressing a couple of different opinions about Jesus. One is a temporary misunderstanding about him. The other is a hardened rejection of Jesus. Both opinions are negative. Now by extension what people think about Jesus will also shape what they think about his followers. And so today as we see people expressing these negative views about Christ, realize that people will have similar negative views about his Christians. And we need to be prepared for this. People will say this stuff about us. But...
  • Who's Responsible for the Moral Decline?

    06/03/2015 8:35:46 AM PDT · by rhema · 105 replies
    Townhall ^ | JUNE 3, 2015 | Susan Stamper Brown
    A recent Gallup poll, "Moral Acceptability: Changes Over Time," shows Americans made a startling move to the left over the past 15 years. A blanket blaming of the church is the easy answer, but today, where black and white has faded into varying shades of gray, we are better served going back to where it began because we didn't get where we are today overnight. America's moral decline began with Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt [FDR]. Their arrogant defiance and blatant hostility toward the U.S. Constitution inspired them to lead an insurrection from the Oval Office, effectively convincing...
  • "The Loving Father, the Lifted-Up Son, and the Life-Giving Spirit" (Sermon for Holy Trinity; John 3)

    05/30/2015 9:39:06 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | May 31, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Loving Father, the Lifted-Up Son, and the Life-Giving Spirit” (John 3:1-17)The triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for our salvation. That’s what this Feast of the Holy Trinity is all about. This is not an occasion to strain our brains to try to figure out what for us, with our finite reason, is ultimately incomprehensible, namely, how there can be one God in three persons and at the same time three persons and only one God. That would blow out our circuits, if we even could comprehend it. Rather, the thing to do on this day is simply,...
  • Birth Control and the Church how did we get here ?

    05/30/2015 3:35:59 PM PDT · by Morgana · 6 replies
    saynsumthn's blog ^ | May 26, 2015 | saynsumthn
    A documentary film series produced in 2013, but one I have only recently viewed, maintains that the modern church’s stand in accepting birth control is contrary to centuries of early church teaching. Birth Control The Movie was directed by Kevin Peeples based on his own personal journey to answer the question: As a Christian, is birth control up to us? Little did he realize that his journey coincided with producers Scott Matthew Dix and Nathan Nicholson. The series consists of two DVD’s: BIRTH CONTROL: How Did We Get Here?, which looks into why there is no fundamental difference between the...
  • "The Helper: The Paraclete of Pentecost" (Sermon for the Day of Pentecost; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15)

    05/24/2015 12:34:01 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | May 24, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Helper: The Paraclete of Pentecost” (John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15)“To You, O Paraclete, we raise / Unending songs of thanks and praise.” Did you catch that last line of the hymn we just sang? And did you wonder who or what this “Paraclete” was? Well, it seems to be a reference to the Holy Spirit, because earlier in that stanza we’ve been praising the Father and the Son, so this must be the Holy Spirit. But why call the Holy Spirit “Paraclete”? Is that because the Spirit came down in the form of a parakeet at Jesus’ baptism? No, wait, that...
  • Archbishop Nienstedt blocks church from hosting LGBT Catholic youth event (welcomed by Lutherans)

    05/18/2015 3:52:12 PM PDT · by Mrs. Don-o · 20 replies
    The Column (gay news outlet) ^ | May 15, 2015 | Andy Birkey
    Organizers were planning for more than 100 participants at Minneapolis’ Church of Christ the King on Saturday to talk about the intersection of being LGBT and Catholic and the how to bridge the gap between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church. That gap got a little wider when organizers of the LGBTQ+ Catholic Youth Summit were notified on Sunday — just days before the event — that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis would not permit the event in a Catholic Church. Instead, event organizers have found a welcoming home down the street at the Edina Community...
  • "Confidence, Unity, and Joy: God's Gifts to Our Church" (Sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Easter)

    05/16/2015 10:06:50 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | May 17, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Confidence, Unity, and Joy: God’s Gifts to Our Church” (1 John 5:9-15; John 17:11b-19)Today we are very happy to receive yet another family into our congregation. That makes seventeen new members added to our little church so far this year. Seventeen! That is remarkable. From out of the blue, quite unexpectedly, God has gifted us with these brothers and sisters in Christ, who are joining our church. Thanks be to God! Yes, today we give thanks to God for the gift of these new members, who already are being a real blessing to our church. But now I want to...
  • "The Past, Present, and Future of the Ascension" (Sermon for the Ascension of Our Lord)

    05/14/2015 9:31:15 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | May 14, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Past, Present, and Future of the Ascension” (Luke 24:44-53; Ephesians 1:15-23; Acts 1:1-11)“He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.” That’s what we just confessed about our Lord Jesus Christ, isn’t it? This portion of the Apostles’ Creed captures what this day, Ascension Day, is all about. These three things: He ascended into heaven. He sits at the right hand of the Father. And he will come again. A past act. A present reality. And a future hope. And all...
  • Stolen Bible Leads to Charges in Death of 'Wonderful and Loving' Carver Co. Man

    05/13/2015 3:26:52 PM PDT · by ButThreeLeftsDo · 38 replies
    KSTP.com ^ | 5/13/15 | Jennie Lissarrague
    A stolen Bible with two $1,000 savings bonds issued to a 90-year-old Carver County man who was murdered led police to arrest two suspects in his death. Earl Olander was found beaten and robbed inside his home on the 16000 block of Homestead Road back on April 11. Police say his hands and ankles were bound with duct tape and that he was found lying face-down on the floor of his living room. According to the criminal complaint, Olander had multiple injuries to his head, face and body. Police also say his entire home was ransacked, with drawers pulled out...
  • "Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying" (Sermon for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, on 1 John 5:1-8)

    05/09/2015 10:17:58 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | May 10, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying” (1 John 5:1-8) “Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying”: That’s the hymn we just sang (LSB 597). Listen again to the words of the first stanza: Water, blood, and Spirit crying, By their witness testifying To the One whose death-defying Life has come, with life for all. The One to whom the Spirit, the water, and the blood are testifying is, of course, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has defied and defeated death for us, who comes with life for all, and whose Easter victory we are celebrating during this season. But now where...
  • Francis receives his “dear sister”, head of the Lutheran Church of Sweden

    05/05/2015 2:56:58 PM PDT · by piusv · 27 replies
    Iacopo Scaramuzzi Vatican City “Esteemed Mrs. Jackelén, esteemed sister, dear friends!” This was how Pope Francis addressed Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala and Primate of the Swedish Lutheran Church, at their meeting this morning in the Vatican. The archbishop was accompanied by a delegation from the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Sweden. It was an opportunity to discuss topics such as the testimony of persecuted Christians around the world which brings the various denominations together, divisions over life and family that need to be avoided, the upcoming celebration of the 5th centenary of the Lutheran Reformation in 2017, as well as more...
  • Two Fights, One Gun, Two Outcomes

    05/03/2015 5:44:58 AM PDT · by OK Sun · 35 replies
    The Armed Lutheran ^ | May 3, 2015 | The Armed Lutheran
    When the story of a Missouri man drawing his gun to break up a fight between teenage girls popped up on my Facebook wall, I was intrigued by the responses. Many, including some who claimed to be highly experienced shooters, were critical of the good samaritan’s actions. If you can’t break up a fight between teenage girls without a gun, you don’t need to be intervening. Consider these tales of two fights, one gun, and two very different outcomes. The stories are amazingly similar. On April 26 at a skate park in In Farmington, Missouri, a fight broke out between...
  • "We Love Because He First Loved Us" (Sermon for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, on 1 John 4:1-21)

    05/02/2015 9:35:41 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | May 3, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “We Love Because He First Loved Us” (1 John 4:1-21) Love, love, love. How often do we hear that word “love”! We use it so freely, so loosely. We use it for McDonald’s hamburgers: “I’m lovin’ it.” We use it for clothing and cars and hairstyles and lots of things we like, but instead of saying “like,” we say “love.” I found myself doing that just the other night: Lance Lynn struck out a batter with the bases loaded and two outs, and I said, without thinking, “Love it!” Well, a step up from that very loose use of “love”...
  • "One Name, One Flock, One Shepherd" (Sermon, Fourth Sunday of Easter; Acts 4:1-12, John 10:11-18)

    04/25/2015 10:44:09 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | April 26, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “One Name, One Flock, One Shepherd” (Acts 4:1-12; John 10:11-18)Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” the day in the church year every year when the propers--that is, the various parts of the service--revolve around Jesus as our Good Shepherd. The Holy Gospel is always a portion of John 10, in which Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. The Psalm is always the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd.” The Hymn of the Day, which we just sang, is “The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” And so on. This theme of the...
  • "To Understand the Scriptures" (Sermon for the Third Sunday of Easter, on Luke 24:36-49)

    04/18/2015 9:07:36 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 9 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | April 19, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “To Understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:36-49)Have you ever thought about what the Bible is all about? I mean, if you had to boil it down to just a few short sentences, what would you say is the main message of the Scriptures? You know, a lot of people have a lot of different opinions about the Bible and what it is saying. They pull this verse or that verse out of context and twist it like a wax nose to make it suit their purpose. People approach the Bible with their presuppositions and then find in the Bible what they...
  • "Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness" (Sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, on John; 1 John; Acts)

    04/11/2015 9:36:14 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | April 12, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness” (John 20:19-31; 1 John 1:1 – 2:2; Acts 4:32-35) Did you get any gifts for Easter? Maybe an Easter basket, filled with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans and Easter eggs that you open up and there’s a coin inside? Well, I can think of some Easter gifts that are even better than that. And today I want to tell you about them. They’re right there in our readings for today, and they are these Easter gifts, three of them: “Faith, Fellowship, and Forgiveness.” Faith, fellowship, and forgiveness: three Easter gifts that we have because of the...
  • "Just as He Told You" (Sermon for Easter Day, on Mark 16:1-8)

    04/04/2015 10:39:29 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | April 5, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Just as He Told You” (Mark 16:1-8) Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!) And you say that with such conviction! As you should. The announcement of Christ’s resurrection elicits from us a hearty response of faith and joy. And rightfully so. This is the heart of our great hope as Christians, that Christ our Lord has conquered sin and death for us and has secured for us the sure and certain hope of our own resurrection and everlasting life. Which makes our Gospel reading today a little strange. It doesn’t end the way we would like it...
  • "Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani?" (Sermon for Good Friday, on Isaiah 52-53; Psalm 22; Mark 15)

    04/03/2015 9:15:23 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 5 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | April 3, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Eloi, Eloi, Lema Sabachthani?” (Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12; Psalm 22; Mark 15:1-47)“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” This is one of the seven words from the cross, that is, one of the seven times Jesus spoke during his crucifixion. “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” This saying of Jesus is recorded for us in two of the four gospels, in Matthew and Mark, where it is the only word from the cross that is recorded. For the other words from the cross, we have to go to Luke and John. “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” I think what is so striking about this word from...
  • "Blood of the Covenant" (Sermon for Holy Thursday, on Exodus 24; 1 Corinthians 10; Mark 14)

    04/02/2015 7:56:40 AM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | April 2, 2015 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Blood of the Covenant” (Exodus 24:3-11; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Mark 14:12-26)“Blood” and “covenant” go together in the Bible pretty much all the time. Whenever God establishes a covenant with people, generally it is sealed with blood. And tonight is no exception. In fact, tonight is the culmination of this connection between blood and covenant. It’s Holy Thursday, the night in which our Lord Jesus Christ establishes a covenant with us and says, “This is my ‘Blood of the Covenant.’” I suppose we should start by explaining what this word “covenant” means, biblically speaking. In the Bible, a covenant is a...
  • Gay Marriage Isn’t About Justice, It’s About Selma Envy

    03/31/2015 1:09:00 PM PDT · by C19fan · 14 replies
    The Federalist ^ | March 31, 2015 | Hane Fiene
    Why do so many young adults paint absurd caricatures of Christians who request government protection of their religious freedoms, arguing their true goal is to ban gay men from sitting at the local lunch counter? Why do they spread falsehoods about legislation, insisting that bills like the one recently signed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will unleash a Republican-led Jim Crow revival aimed at the LGBT community? Why do so many people, Gen Xers and younger, invent a monster of anti-gay bigotry and keep screaming the monster is real despite a mountain of contrary facts standing before them? The answer...
  • "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...
  • Why We Baptize Babies (The Case for Infant Baptism) [Conservative Lutheran position]

    03/07/2015 12:04:48 PM PST · by Colofornian · 199 replies
    Should we baptize babies? The Christian Church continues to be sharply divided over this important question. Those who answer "yes" (Lutherans, Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, etc.) claim Biblical support for their position. Those who answer "no" (Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, many "Bible" or "evangelical," or "non-denominational" churches) say the Bible is on their side. The pro-infant baptism churches assert that Christ commanded infant baptism. The opposing side asserts that nowhere is such a thing commanded. They hold that at best it is useless and at worst harmful. It is their practice to rebaptize adults who were baptized as babies. The Lutheran...
  • 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...
  • "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....
  • 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...
  • Catholics and Lutherans Plan Joint Ecumenical Commemoration In 2016

    01/18/2015 10:07:39 AM PST · by ebb tide · 9 replies
    Vatican Radio ^ | 1/17/2015 | Vatican Radio
    (Vatican Radio) The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) will jointly host an ecumenical event in the fall of 2016. According to a press release from the organizers, this is a continuation of the process "From Conflict to Communion" and to express the joint gifts received through dialogue, particularly in anticipation of the 500` Reformation anniversary in 2017. 2017 also marks 50 years of ecumenical dialogue between the LWF and the Roman Catholic Church. Within the framework of the forthcoming Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, it is important for the LWF and...
  • "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...