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Month: November 2014

Advent Gets Us Ready.

One of the Gospel lessons for Advent is Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey from Matthew 21 and 22..  Sometimes we call that the triumphal entry.  In his preaching on the first Sunday in Advent, Luther emphasizes over and over again that we do not come to the King, but that the King comes to us. In a 1521 sermon Luther says: This is what is meant by “Thy king cometh.” You do not seek him, but he seeks you. You do not find him, he finds you. For preachers come from him, not from you; their sermons come from him, not from you; your faith comes from him, not from you; and where he does not come, you remain outside; and where there is no Gospel there is no God, but only sin and damnation, free will may do, suffer, work, and live as it may and can. Therefore you should not ask, where to begin to be godly; there is no beginning, except where the king enters and is proclaimed. Share this on:...

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Give Thanks for the Little Things.

So my brother in law made me a bird feeder that the birds like and so do I.  I had no idea the cat would be as appreciative as he is.  Give thanks for the little things they say.                                   Share this on:...

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What Preachers Should Preach on Thanksgiving.

Psalm 136  – 1-3     Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. 3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever: Luther says, The 136th psalm is a psalm of thanks and is perhaps the text to show priests how they should sing and preach. Namely, they should sing and preach of God and His wonderful deeds, that He is gracious and merciful and a true Savior. Therefore, in each verse the psalmist repeats the line, “His steadfast love endures forever,” with which the psalm is nearly overwhelmed. Truly nothing but grace, not human works or doctrines, should ever be preached. For human works and words have done no wonders such as these. They are not deserving of this worship, but rather only the grace and pure goodness of Him who gives all. Gift! Gift, he says! Gift—free of charge! And Christ also stands hidden in the phrase. Such doctrine keeps in the people a pure faith and a right understanding of grace and the forgiveness of sins, against the rebellious and stiff-necked work-saints                   Share this on:...

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The Real Reason For Thanksgiving

So we celebrate Thanksgiving because some politicians thought they would tip their hats to the Almighty, and made it up by fiat.  We could say that the holiday is the fulfillment of the first Article demand that because of all that God gives us, it is our DUTY to “thank and praise, serve and obey Him.”  OK a call to duty is a good tactic.  It is still the Law though.  I have been spending a lot of time trying to guilt folks to come to Thanksgiving services. I just read an interesting book that will make some people crazy if they read it.  It is called “Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony” by Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon. We are forever getting confused into thinking that scripture is mainly about what we are supposed to do rather than a picture of who God is . If Jesus had put forth behavior like turning the other cheek when someone strikes you as a useful tactic for bringing out the best in other people, then Jesus could be justly accused of ethical naiveté. But the basis for the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount is not what works but rather the way God is. Cheek- turning is not advocated as what works (it usually does not), but advocated because this is the way God is— God is kind...

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The Myth of Thanksgiving

 I have spent  a lot of time thinking about Thanksgiving this week.  We have church at Trinity at 5:30 on Wednesday night and 7 PM at Zion.  Thanksgiving services were poorly attended so we went to Thanksgiving Eve services to at least give people the chance to pretend that they are thankful but that sounds harsh.  The truth is that most of what we think of as thanksgiving is a myth, from the belief that it was first celebrated by the Pilgrims to the idea that it is a religious holiday.  In the midst of my Thanksgiving preparation my Mother was admitted to the hospital a hundred miles away so I have had to think about what I am thankful for as well. I’m tired of being cranky about unthankfulness and complete misunderstandings about faith and trust and worship that I am going to let someone else vent for me. Pastor Terry Obrien is a Pastor in Illinois.  I know of him because in 2008 he was one of six Concordia Seminary students selected to participate in a 10-day “Mercy Mission” to the Lutheran Church of the island nation of Madagascar.  He writes about thanksgiving myths in a sermon from a few years back.  Here is a part of his sermon. Probably the greatest myth of all on this Thanksgiving Day 2012 is that most Americans are truly thankful to...

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