Out of the Heart…


Biblical Text: Mark 7:14-23
Full Sermon Draft

This is the second part of the Jesus’ discussion in Mark chapter 7. The first part (last Sunday) focused more on the centrality of the Word of God. In the words of the Lutheran confessions that would is the sole norm of life and faith. It is the norming norm. All of our traditions must conform to the Word of God. The second part Jesus turns from false source of authority to the source of our problems with it. It is not that we don’t know the Word of God, but that naturally, out of the heart of man, come evil designs. What we take into the body cannot defile us as Mark comments settling the question of foods once. But we naturally take part in wickedness and fall into foolish ways.

The sermon examines Jesus’ comments on both wickedness and foolishness and puts it in the context of the larger bible’s discussion of understanding and foolishness. It then bridges into the good news. Out of our natural hearts come wickedness, but God is about replacing those hearts.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Ezekiel 1:1-14, 22-28 and Romans 1:1-17

Ezekiel 1:1-14, 22-28
Romans 1:1-17

This is just back at it after a good Christmas break. Starting two new books looked like a good day to start again. I’m still hoping to add something later.

The importance of specific dates in the bible
Apostolic humor & the importance of faith

Blindness and Vision


Text: John 9
Full Sermon Draft

This sermon attempts to show how the characters of the man born blind and the pharisees are representative of contrasting spiritual paths. The primary difference is the reaction when presented with the act of God. The primary act or work of God is His creation of the Spiritual life through water and the Spirit. If the reaction one of obedience to the Word, then the result is vision. If the reaction is one of rejection, then the result is blindness. The encouragement for the Christian life is to examine our own reactions to the work of God in our lives.

Three items of note

I’m reminded of the children’s song, “the wise man built his house upon the rock…the foolish man built his house upon the sand.”

The wise woman: Simcha Fisher. She gets and responds to one of those really hard letters. And note what her first disclaimer is -“Here is what I is what I think (and my theological credentials are: I am a housewife with a computer).” Yet this housewife with a computer relates a deceptively simple and well thought out response. Note especially the wisdom that each of our callings in how we react to specific sin might be different.

The foolish woman: Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite. Note what she wants you to know at the end – “She is an On Faith Panelist and a former President of Chicago Theological Seminary”. This learned woman’s advice? Read the long lost gospel of Mary -“its illuminating to our times”. Let me save you the trouble. This gospel is no gospel at all. One would have hoped a learned professor would have said something like go read John or Mark. Instead she says go read some 2nd century gnostic nonsense about spirits and souls and returning to the one that happens to be attributed to Jesus and Mary and the apostles. We don’t believe is the immortality of the soul. We believe in the resurrection of the dead. You were made body and soul together, and God will recreate that on the last day.

The last item is something interesting to me. It is exactly the type of thing that drives our modern secular elite up the wall. Did you hear what Prime Minister Netanyahu’s gift to President Obama was in there recent meeting? A copy of the book of Esther. I can safely say you should go read that one. Why Esther you may ask? This week is Purim, the Jewish festival remembering Esther’s story. And probably more importantly, Esther is the queen who saved the Jews from the genocidal Persians (i.e. modern Iran). PM Netanyahu has almost uncritically pulled a biblical story into the modern world. His gift to our President says open your eyes to the truth. The whole idea that an ancient document is more true than modern politics, or that we can and should get wisdom from scripture, drives our elites batty. At my snotty best it says them them there is a truth and a power you are accountable to, and they don’t like that.

Financing Little Johnny…when does Rumplestilskin show up?

The headline of this WSJ article…In Vitro a Fertile Niche for Lenders

Julie Barth’s prayers were answered when a doctor in Crystal Lake, Ill., told her in vitro fertilization might get her pregnant.

But he didn’t stop there, referring her to a “fertility finance” company that lent her $5,000 at an interest rate of 7.99% to help cover the $24,000 procedure. Her daughter, Olivia, was born about a year later.

“You can’t put a price on a smile like that,” says Ms. Barth, 32 years old. She hopes to pay off her loan from Springstone Financial LLC, based in Southborough, Mass., by her daughter’s third birthday in 2014….

And what happens when a payment is missed? Does the lender foreclose on the kid? Oliver Twist? When does the federal government step in to “guarantee” these loans (like college loans) and make them un-bankruptable? But of course that is a slippery slope we’d never go down. Per the article that 7.9% rate was cheap. Ms. Barth must have really good credit.

But the Catholic church’s teaching on birth control and being human is crazy talk. (Cue the demon lighting and mood music.)

What message do you want to tell your son?

From the WSJ via the AP

A fan at a Texas Rangers game died Thursday night after falling from the stands while reaching for a baseball tossed his way by All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office said Friday the victim was 39-year-old firefighter Shannon Stone of Brownwood. City Manager Bobby Rountree said Mr. Stone had been a firefighter for nearly 18 years in Brownwood, located 150 miles southwest of Arlington.

Mr. Stone fell about 20 feet onto concrete Thursday night, tumbling over the left-field railing after catching the ball and falling into an area out of sight from the field as the Rangers faced Oakland. Mr. Stone’s young son witnessed the fall during the second inning.

Luke 12:20. But God said to him, “You fool! This night your soul is required of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”