Tag Archives: creation

Displaying the Wisdom of God in Rich Variety

Biblical Text: Ephesians 3:10-21
Full Sermon Draft

We are continuing our reading of Ephesians Chapter 3. The formal assigned reading begins at verse 14, but to me just picking up Paul there clips off the entire thrust of his story in this chapter. Verse 14 forward is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians (and all the people of God) based on the revelation in the prior verses. Verse 10 – “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (Eph. 3:10 NLT)” – is the hinge to me. Prior I hope we know from the book of Acts of Galatians and the first two chapters of Ephesians. But Paul adds this rich line about God’s purpose. This sermon examines that line in all its richness and terror. And then it seeks to understand Paul’s prayer for us in light of that calling to display the wisdom of God. This is the Christian life in its cosmic purpose. This is the Christian life connected to its deep meaning.

The Indwelling Word

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Biblical Text: John 6:51-69
Full Sermon Draft

This is the third and last sermon on the “Bread of Life Discourse” in John 6. The typical and easiest way to understand the entire discourse where Jesus says we must eat his flesh and drink his blood is as a reference to the Lord’s Supper. That isn’t wrong, but we do have to ignore that fact that when Jesus said it the crowds who heard it had no recourse to the sacrament. What this sermon attempts to do is proclaim the gospel from this most perplexing text with the sacrament not as first resource but as an gift that embodies for all time the truth.

What I latch onto is Jesus’ embellishment of eating the flesh and blood as the gateway or image of Christ abiding or indwelling in us. Just as the Father dwells in Christ or Christ as the perfect icon of the Father, by eating Christ he dwells in us. Creation has always been about building a dwelling place or a temple for God. In Christ we have the perfect temple, and we are made the living stones as God dwells in us. As Christ is the icon of God, we become the body of Christ and icon of a sort (although that might be a little strong this side of the New Jerusalem). That flesh and spirit incarnation is always a scandal to the world which wants to keep them separate.

Yet as Peter says – these are the words of eternal life. The second part of the gospel explored is Peter sequence where we believe first and then come to know. We must eat first – take Christ into us – to know. The body and blood of Christ give us a sure foundation. We can know because he is the bread that has come down. If we keep it outside of us, we can’t know. Belief comes first and it is belief from the heart.

The Love of God Creates

031515wordle

Biblical Text: John 3:15-21
Full Sermon Draft

My Daughter had an interesting assignment this week that merged in with the Gospel Text. The text includes John 3:16 of course, the “gospel in a nutshell”, but that never gave the passage around it (or the whole discourse with Nicodemus which is comes from) due credit. Yes, we are saved by the love of God, but there is something dangerous in our natural understanding of that. The things we naturally love all lovely, or as the sermon will start out with, they have something that attracts us to them. God’s love is not given to things naturally attractive, but creates what pleases it. In out case, in the case of the world that he loves, the love of God justifies sinners through faith in his Son. The love of God changes us and invites us into the light. And such love is reflected through the cross. This world that loves darkness might not recognize that as love. It is not lovely in itself, but it is the love God, and the love of the Christian working in God.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 2:4-25 and Mark 1:29-45

Genesis 2:4-25
Mark 1:29-45
How Genesis 2 Supports Genesis 1, but differs
Getting the order of Love God/Love you Neighbor correct

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 1:20-2:3 and Mark 1:14-28

Genesis 1:20-2:3
Mark 1:14-28
Man & Woman together carrying the image
Bias toward order
Making the meaningful decisions

Heaven Torn Open

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Biblical Text: Mark 1:4-11
Full Sermon Draft

The text and the church occasion is the baptism of Jesus. This sermon uses as a theme what Mark says happened at the beginning and at the end of his gospel – Heaven Torn Open. First at the baptism when Jesus becomes willingly the new Adam, taking our baptism. Then at the cross, when the veil to the holy place is torn open. Jesus counts himself with us sinners, so that we might be counted in the holy place. He doesn’t abandon or crush his creation, he redeems it.

I wish I had caught a good recording of the hymn post the sermon. It is LSB 404 – Jesus Once with Sinners Numbered. It is a great hymn and spot on. Here is a link to someone with a great voice singing it.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Isaiah 32:1-20 and Revelation 4:1-11

Isaiah 32:1-20
Revelation 4:1-11
The eschatological age: good government, seeing eyes, open ears, hearts seeking wisdom
God’s people joining all creation in the eschatological hymn

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 2:4-25 and Mark 1:29-45

Genesis 2:4-25

Mark 1:29-45

Creation & Re-creation, Spirit giving life through the good news/gospel

Your Hand, O Lord in Days of Old (LSB 846)

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 1:20-2:3 and Mark 1:14-28

Genesis 1:20-2:3

Mark 1:14-28

Creation & New Creation, Order & Disorder

Away from Us the Demon Cried (LSB 541) and Praise the One who Breaks the Darkness (LSB 849)

How do you read the Bible?


This was a short article from the WSJ that explores some of the background behind a few recent news stories. The stories I’m thinking of most recently are: the Calvin College professor named in the article, Michelle Bachmann and the pope/antichrist or on submission, Tim Tebow, and World Youth Day.

Think for a second of all the people behind those stories – a college professor, a congresswoman running for president, a quarterback, a pope and thousands of largely western (i.e. wealthy) Roman Catholic Kids. All those people are Christian. One of the easy ways to tell that is look at the coverage they all got in the standard media which usually boils down to, “look at these kooks, we don’t get them, but there seem to be a lot of them, look at all the Tebow Jerseys and they guy has played 3 games”. My guess is that if you put the professor, the NFL quarterback and the pope into a bar you’d have an interesting discussion. They’d all agree on the life of Jesus and in slightly different words what it means. (Boil it down to Incarnation, Ministry, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension and atonement or salvation.) But ask them about Adam and Eve, or modern Jews and Israel or the military or even sports and watch the differences.

The big word behind this is hermeneutics. That is the big word for how one interprets meaning from any source: written, verbal, or you name it. We read and interpret the Bible. Christians find Christ at the center of that interpretation. That is why the pope, Tebow and the professor actually have more in common together than with most of the journalists covering their stories irregardless of their many differences. At least for me (and Irenaeus who I’m stealing from/leaning on) that is the central role of the creeds. These are the things we all agree on. They lay out the boundaries of hermeneutics. If you read the bible and come up with something that breaks what the creeds say…go back and read again because you got something wrong. At the center of those creeds is the life of Christ and its meaning.

I also wanted to link to this story because of the picture. That is a 1993 work of art – so it is modern. And it was visually striking. There is a physical Adam and Eve, and I suppose that could be a blanket, but in a certain manner it looks like a burial shroud or a veil. In the middle of garden, death was coiled and things hidden. Coming at that picture with Christian eyes you would interpret a whole different set of things than if you were biblically illiterate.