Our Generous God, September 22 Worship

Some of the parable stories that Jesus tells are so rich with meaning they can apply to many things. Jesus tells us a story about a master who has a reputation for generosity. When his unjust steward discounts everyone’s bills, he doesn’t assert his legal right to reverse the steward’s actions; instead, he stays consistent with his reputation and generously forgives the debts. As we rejoice in the generosity of God we also hear another layer to Jesus’ story. God calls us to use wisely and well whatever He entrusts to us. Today and for eternity we get to celebrate our generous God.

 

Rejoice With Me, September 15 Worship

God sets new things before us. He is a consistent renewing Spirit for us. Our readings today speak to us of God’s ability to lead us back, or help us to find what was lost. Paul writes in 1st Timothy about the dramatic turn His life took by the grace and mercy of God. Jesus tells us a couple of short little stories to help us imagine the transforming nature of God’s care and compassion for us. Once we have found this, we like the woman who finds a valuable coin that had been lost, will exclaim, “Rejoice with me.”

God's Way Opens Before Us, September 8 Worship

Jesus echoes Moses’ words that when God enters our world new vistas open before us. God shows us sacred and eternal things. God sets before us life and love of God and compassion for everyone around us. These are the things we can choose today because God has made it so. Choosing the things of God may require careful thought and even sacrifice. We ask for the Holy Spirit to lead us and teach, and inspire us. We pray that we may choose what God has set before us: the good and eternal things that are right and true.

The Humble Will See the Glory of God, September 1 Worship

God can accomplish more with our humility than we can do with our pride. When we are asking questions such as what would leave room for the love of God or what would give glory to Him the world around us is transformed into a place where God can be seen and that is always greater than whatever we might try to achieve. The path of humility is the path of faith, as we believe that God’s Glory is greater than all else.

Pastor Disney was a guest preacher on Main Street Living, a Lutheran television program that is endorsed by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. His sermon was recorded several weeks ago and aired on TV this past Sunday, Sept. 1. This is the same sermon that Pastor Disney preached at Bethlehem on Sunday, Sept. 1. We hope you enjoy the video version.

God is Always Good, Worship August 25, Pentecost 11

Most of us would agree that life can be hard. We would probably also agree that life is incredibly meaningful. The challenge we all face is putting those two things together in order to say that even the hardship in life can be meaningful. C S Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” God can use everything and anything in our lives to purify us, make us more holy, and draw us closer to Him. Jesus spoke of this as a “narrow door.” Even when life is hard God is good, all the time!

Faith, The Eyes of the Heart, August 18 Worship

Look at the world around you and sense that it must have been designed and built by someone. Here begins the journey of faith and it can carry you very far. You can look at the evidence and decide to believe that a man named Jesus rose from his grave alive. Believing that will change a lot of things about your life, both now and forever. Faith can be a way of looking at the world and interpreting everything that happens. Things look very different when you are ready to affirm that there is a good, merciful, and just God. It is a dramatic and wonderful thing to let your heart be led by the eyes of faith.

A Song for the Summertime, August 4 Worship Pentecost 8

So, what’s growing at your house this summer?  Weeds seem to grow easily. But what would you rather see grow? In the epistle lesson from Colossians we are challenged to grow in living lives of integrity that honor our Creator. Paul says this kind of growth comes when we get rid of things like “lust, evil desires and greed.” Jesus challenged a man who had many material things to work on growing in the spiritual things of God. We can grow flowers rather than weeds when we are nourished in God’s goodness and love. Let’s sing a prayerful song for the summertime: “Lord enable us to grow in lives that glorify You.”  

Praying for the World Around Us, July 28 Worship Pentecost 7

God wants us to be talking and praying to Him. But what are we supposed to be talking to Him about? In our Old Testament lesson Abraham pleads to God for a place and a people that others would have forsaken. We can learn from Abraham’s example to pray that God would mercifully care for the culture of the world around us. God is great in wisdom and might. How will He answer your prayer? Praying keeps us at once humble and hopeful.

God Visits Us, Worship July 21, Pentecost 6

Jesus visits the home of two women, Mary and Martha. They are very different people. Jesus cares for each of them in a different way. This helps us to see that God can enter the distinctly different predicament of any of our lives. Do you need to hear of the mysteries of God, or do you need to let go of the accumulation of ordinary things that clouds your mind? God knows what you need. Are you ready to invite Him for a visit?

Growing in God's Great Love, Worship July 14, Pentecost 5

In today's Gospel reading a young lawyer asks Jesus, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  Their conversation leads Jesus to tell one of His best known parables known as “the Good Samaritan.” In this story Jesus stretches our imagination about what godly love can do in the reality of our lives. How great do you think God’s love is? In Christ Jesus we see that God’s love is eternal, almighty, and ours forever, and even today.

The Kingdom of God is Near You, 4th Sunday of Pentecost, July 7

In the Gospel for today, Jesus sends out seventy-two of His followers with power to heal and cast out demons. But most importantly Jesus wanted them to share that the Kingdom of God is near. As they bestowed care and concern on those they met they were embodying the Kingdom of God. The goodness they brought to people’s lives was pointing to the even greater blessing of our everlasting future in God’s Kingdom. In Jesus all this is near even for us. The Kingdom is near, now and forever.

The Journey of Faith, Third Sunday After Pentecost Worship, June 30, 2019

When was the last time you had the comfort of pulling out a paper map that showed you the way you would travel? Now days many a journey is taken trusting that some sort of electronic voice will tell you when to turn and what to do. This occasionally results in people arriving somewhere only to realize that it is not actually where they were hoping to go. Led by faith in God our journey may be imperfect, there may even be detours, but guided by God’s wisdom and love both the journey and the destination will be good.

Jesus Sets Us Free, Second Sunday of Pentecost, June 23

We are held captive by many things in this earthly life, but especially by sin, death, and Satan. In the Gospel reading Jesus asks his disciples to sail across to the side of the lake that they prefer to avoid. Jesus stepped ashore and encountered a man who possessed by many demons. This man had been chained so he wouldn’t hurt himself or others. Jesus comes to this man in his captivity and sets him free. There is no border to Jesus’ mercy and compassion. He can reach us wherever we are. By His death and resurrection, Jesus sets us free from our enemies, from sin, death, and Satan. We are free to tell of Jesus’s mercy and compassion.

Trinity Sunday, All Thy Works Shall Praise Thy Name, June 16

Whenever we contemplate the mystery of God being three persons in one God, we can be in awe of how far above us He is in His divine nature. We were called into being when we were nothing, we were saved while still in our sins, and we are given faith to trust Him, purely by the grace of God. God’s creation itself is majestic in scope and grandeur. The more we learn about it, especially the vastness of cosmic space, the more we recognize the grace of God in His caring about us. God has not only provided the one place where we might thrive, but He also became one of us, showing us His Majesty in such a humble way. The Holy Spirit now lives among us to teach us all things and remind us how majestic is God’s name in all the earth, especially in our hearts and minds!

The Spirit of the Living God, Pentecost Worship, June 9

Jesus told His followers that they could expect the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ascended into heaven Jesus sent the Holy Spirit so that we can have God’s holiness and wisdom as a present reality. This Spirit can renew our mind and emotions. The Holy Spirit can inspire love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As we celebrate God’s Spirit, we pray “Come Holy Spirit.”

The Ascension of Our Lord, June 2nd Worship

As we go through life we hope for a few little triumphs.  So it was for Jesus’ disciples just before Christ was about to ascend to heaven.  "Lord," they said, "will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  But God had a greater blessing in mind.  Christ's ascension means His triumph is over all humankind, all nations, kingdoms, powers, and everything else for all time and eternity.  He who was crucified, died, and risen, now takes His victory with Him to sit at God's right hand in power and majesty. He is triumphant over all things forever.  

Take Heart! Jesus Has Overcome the World. May 26 Worship

Jesus knows the world. He said to His disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation.” That is pretty obvious to us all. But then Jesus went on and said, “Take heart; I have overcome the world.” Troubles will come to us all, but Jesus gave us a reason to again and again defiantly find reason for hope. Our strength is in Jesus who triumphed over everything. He is our courage. Jesus strengthens our hearts even in the midst of things that are troubling and challenging. Because of Jesus we are headed toward the city of God shining with the light of the resurrection—a city alight with God and the Lamb, a city with no night. Take heart! Jesus has overcome the world!

Jesus Sees the Way, May 19 Worship

Every page of God’s Word proclaims in some way that God is Almighty and All Knowing. What is extraordinary about the Gospel accounts of Jesus is that they show us what almighty and all- knowing look like up close. Not only can Jesus see what will take place in the future, but He can also tell us what will really matter. Jesus could tell His followers to take heart and have hope because He confidently sees that goodness and truth will be triumphant. Knowing that by His resurrection to new life Jesus has conquered death, we have every reason to trust in what Jesus sees will be the way.

The Lamb Will Be Their Shepherd, Worship May 12

The cryptic language of the Book of Revelation tells us the “the Lamb will be their shepherd.” That tells us a lot about God’s ability to understand and sympathize with us. Almighty and Eternal God became one of us. Jesus is our Good Shepherd who loves us more than life. He fought for us and has won salvation for us. He promises us that no one is able to snatch us from our Father’s hand. This is our joy amid struggle and sorrow, and our confidence. The One who gave Himself for us has triumphed. With Jesus’ resurrection we celebrate the Lamb has become the Shepherd.