Daily Lectionary Podcast – Job 21:1-21, 34 and John 8:39-59

Job 21:1-21, 34
John 8:39-59
Quick rundown of Job 21-30, How our trite answers just comfort us and not who they are supposed to comfort, do we really want to hear the Word of God, chasing God out of the temple

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Job 20:1-23,29 and John 8:21-38

Job 20:1-23,29
John 8:21-38
A quick recap of Job’s three friend’s positions, How people react to suffering, Jesus as the Word, Revelation or the Word is a prerequisite of truth

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Job17:1-16 and John 7:14-31

Job 17:1-16
John 7:14-31
The Hope that Lives in Us, Appearances can be deceiving

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Job16:1-22 and John 7:1-13

Job 16:1-22
John 7:1-13
Revelation, Faith in the One outside of what we see, Appearances can be deceiving
Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted (LSB 451)

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Job 15:1-23, 30-35 and John 6:60-71

Job 15:1-23, 30-35
John 6:60-71
Revelation and Reason, The necessary smallness of reason’s limits, why revelation can feel like resignation, the difficulty of discerning the difference between deep faith and lack of faith (why the lament of Job and the confrontation of Jesus are so often unacceptable)

And Just Who is ‘Father’?

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Biblical Text: Luke 11:1-13
Full Draft of SermonThe

The Lord’s Prayer in Luke has a different context and a different emphasis than it does in Mathew. Even though our liturgical prayer comes from Mathew, the context of the liturgy before Communion, is more like Luke. The focus of the prayer itself is the petition “give us each day our daily bread”. But the context of the prayer focuses on revealing just who it is we are praying to – Father.

This sermon is a little shorter than normal. The introduction addresses the reason. The events of the week highlight the first part on our daily bread and just how much “I need thee every hour”. The second portion is pure Gospel. Unlike us who are evil, the Father is holy. And that is what Jesus came to reveal – just who we are praying to.

Cursive Writing, Biblical Transmission, Revelation and Hope – Pastor’s Corner (July 2013)

There is a small skirmish in the civilization wars going on in the elementary schools. Many schools have dropped cursive writing from the instruction list. You can probably see the divide immediately. Those with artistic and civilized dispositions are crying “the horror, the horror”. Those with cold utilitarian logic are saying “why waste the time”. While my cursive styling was never one to be captured for the ages, there is still something about it that encourages a wistful melancholy at the thought of my children never physically learning it themselves. Yes, it is probably never to be used, but neither are any of the better things in life. Some jars are made for common use while others you bring out at Easter.

Tied in with that wistfulness around handwriting is a story about the scriptures. For 1500 years, just counting the NT period, the scriptures where transmitted by laborious hand writing. Some copies, like Codex Sinaiticus are professional scribes’ straight lines and uniform lettering. At least 4 hands poured over that manuscript checking and correction any perceived spelling errors. Sometimes causing fights over spelling as corrector #1 would correct and corrector #2 would restore the original. Codex Sinaiticus is roughly the earliest fullest collection of the Bible that we have, but individual books and sub-collections earlier are plentiful. (Much more plentiful than any other ancient document. For example if you had to drink a milliliter of soda for each ancient manuscript of the Illiad, the closest in number to the NT, you would only have to drink two cans of Pepsi. For the New Testament you’d have to drink 12 two-liters.) Paul’s letters would circulate together. The Gospels would circulate together. But the most interesting history is probably Revelation. That book has an almost completely separate transmission history. The professional scribes are nowhere as numerous which can be told by the handwriting and spelling. Revelation was transmitted and kept in the cannon not by the skilled and the professional but by the lovers and the convinced. It is truly a letter to and from the church. The skilled and professional might scoff at the church being out of its mind, just like the utilitarians silently laugh at the mothers trying to preserve cursive.

I ran across what is a beautiful lay-woman’s continued use of Revelation in that tradition, and a beautiful if rough (like the copyist handwriting) expression of the Gospel. You can find the entire letter here from Hunter Baker and I’d encourage you to read it, as I can’t capture it all. The writer goes to the letter to the Church in Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17). The letters to the churches follow a general pattern, a description of the risen Christ, a praise, a correction, a call to repent and a promise. Pergamum is praised for holding fast to the name of Christ, but corrected for tolerating false teachers who lead people astray. And this anonymous writer gives us a modern application. Quoting…

To those of you who would change the church to accept the gay community and its lifestyle: you give us no hope at all. To those of us who know God’s word and will not dilute it to fit our desires, we ask you to read John’s letter to the church in Pergamum. “I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore!” You are willing to compromise the word of God to be politically correct. We are not deceived. If we accept your willingness to compromise, then we must also compromise. We must therefore accept your lying, your adultery, your lust, your idolatry, your addictions, YOUR sins. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

We do not ask for your acceptance of our sins any more than we accept yours. We simply ask for the same support, love, guidance, and most of all hope that is given to the rest of your congregation.

The Gospel is not about acceptance of sin or our natural condition. We are all born sinful. We are all inclined to things we ought not to do. And the law of God holds us accountable for those things, even when we can’t help it. But Father didn’t leave us in that pitiful natural state. First he sent his Son Jesus who paid for all that wrong on the cross. In Christ we are part of the family, and families love each other, even the black sheep – and in this case we are all black sheep. Second – proceeding from the Father and the Son – the Spirit has been placed within us. And that Spirit wars against our flesh.

The letter writer citing Revelation clings to that hope. Not acceptance of sin, but forgiveness and conquest. Not simply condemnation, although calling a spade a spade is necessary, but in the freedom to speak the truth, finding love and fellowship. We have all fallen short. Even the best church in the letters in Revelation has “fallen from its first love (Rev 2:4).” We are all in need of hope. That is what the church is about – a family trying to preserve the beautiful, the things that remind us of our hope in Christ, until this war ends.

If it produces, well and good; if not, cut it down…

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Biblical Text: Luke 13:1-9
Full Sermon Draft

Sometimes data visualizations just get it. The word tree above gets its. We are in the middle of lent which is a penitential season, a season for repentance. Now there are some really good questions that we might ask about that. What is repentance? What does it include? How do we do it? Why? Who?

This text is at its core about answering those questions.

Who? Everyone.
Why? Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Because the assumptions that we have been taught by the world are not what the Word of God tells us. Hear the Word.
What does that Word assume? No one is good. The word itself accuses us (the law), but that same word is our salvation (gospel).
What does repentance include? A change of assumptions from the world’s to the Word’s. A fruitful living according to the Word.
Where do I go to understand fruit? Look it up in the Word.

Choice Wine

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Biblical Text: John 2:1-11
Full Sermon Draft

It has been a rough week at the Parson’s household. This is at best an unfinished set of ideas. The only thing I can say in its favor is the invitation to see. In the gospel of John, believing is seeing. What you believe is how you see things. The wedding at Cana is Eucharistic, having to do with the Lord’s supper, it is an invitation to see the reality of Jesus and the Kingdom in, with and under the staples of life – water, bread and wine. As we say after the institution, “welcome to the table of the Lord”. Cana is John’s invitation – the first of the signs – to see the omega, the telos, of where this is heading. The world is a comedy; it ends in a wedding with plenty of choice wine. More than enough. Filled to the rim.

Every Spiritual Blessing in the heavenly realms


Text: Ephesians 1:3-14
Full Draft

The textual basis for this sermon is one long sentence. The English translations break it up because that is good English. But what it does is miss the catechism like effect as the clauses build up. The core sentence is short and clear – God be Praised. The rest of the text reads like Paul starts asking questions and answering them in phrases and clauses attached to that simple sentence.

Which God? The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. A Very specific one. One that you know.

Why praise? Because he has already blessed or praised us with EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING.

What are these blessings? You were chosen to be Holy and Unblemished before the foundation. And not just that but you have been adopted into the family of God. You are part of the Royal ruling family.

How was this done (after all I don’t think I did anything)? You didn’t. It was through and in and because of Christ. First by his blood. Redeemed by the blood. Second you have been enlightened with the wisdom and insight of his grace to know the mystery.

What is the mystery? The cross primarily, but also the resurrection and the ascension (i.e. the Lordship). These things which have been hidden in plain sight.

How do I know this? You have been sealed with the Spirit which is the down payment. Outside of the revelation of Christ and the illumination of the Spirit the mystery would remain. But you have it right now.

Why has He done this? For the Praise of the glory of his grace. We are that praise. Our lives, our walks, our confessions and our worship. God be praised.