Sermon Thoughts for April 29, 2012; Good Shepherd Sunday
2012-04-25 by David von Schlichten

Acts 4: Peter is before the council because he taught about Jesus. Unlike Gospels-Peter, Acts-Peter is poised, confident, wise -- a strong leader. He does not back down before his opposition but proclaims the truth.

We, also, are not to back down before opposition, before wolves or hired hands or robbers. How do we serve as shepherds who are also sheep to THE Shepherd? How do we stand strong in the face of opposition?

What is our opposition? People who say that religion is just a crutch for the masses can be opposition. The appeal of secularism can be, as well. So can hedonism, the obsession with buying stuff, making sports into a religion. What is the opposition?

How does the Shepherd empower us against the opposition? Christ sends us baptism, Bible, prayer, holy communion, forgiveness, each other.

Imaculee Ilibagiza was a young Rwandan Tutsi when the genocide broke out in April of 1994. She hid in a pastor's three-by-four foot bathroom for about 90 days with seven other women. Ilibagiza eventually wrote a book about that horror and travels the world telling people about it. She says that prayer and focusing on God's grace got her through that long night.

Christ the Shepherd led her through the opposition. The Shepherd does likewise for you and me.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator  





Sermon Thoughts for April 22, 2012; Earth Day and Easter
2012-04-18 by David von Schlichten

Jesus Christ redeems, not just humans, but all of creation. Moreover. in our reading from Luke 24, the writer emphasizes that Christ is not just a spirit but a physical being. Thus, the passage reminds us that the physical, including the natural, is not evil. The dichotomy between the spiritual and physical is false.

The natural realm, including our own bodies, is good, even though it is fallen, and it is lifted up from its fallen state through Christ. Therefore, it makes sense to honor Easter by doing, among other things, that which helps to care for the planet.

Christ brings new life to all of creation through the resurrection, and we are to pattern our environmental efforts after the resurrection. Reduce, reuse, recycle a la resurrection.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Thomas and More
2012-04-11 by David von Schlichten

Yes, yes, there's doubting Thomas, although, if we examine Thomas as he appears throughout the gospel of John, he's not really much of a doubter. In John 11, he is all set to die with Jesus. In John 14, he asks Jesus how they can know the way to the place where Jesus is going. Not much doubting in either case. He may be a little confused, but his faith seems in tact.

There's much more for the Sunday after Easter besides Thomas.

Acts 4: Biblical socialism anyone? Now there's an intriguing message to preach.

1 John 1 speaks of how, if we say we have no sin, we are just kidding ourselves. Denial. If we confess our sins, though, God will forgive us. It would be nourishing to preach on denial, acknowledgement, and the healing that comes with confession.

John 20 has way more in it than Thomas. We have Jesus giving us Peace. What is this peace? What does it look like? How do we live it? What does it do for us? Hmmm.

The disciples also receive the Holy Spirit in this passage. Who says we can only preach Pentecost on Pentecost? With the Holy Spirit comes the ability to forgive sins or to withhold forgiveness. There's forgiveness again.

What are you thinking of preaching on this Sunday?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Fiery Snakes and Numbers 21:4-9
2012-03-15 by David von Schlichten

Yes, the snakes come from God in this passage, but they really come from the Israelites' sin. What snakes do we bring upon ourselves, and how does God save us from them?

There are the obvious snakes, such as alcoholism, drug abuse, and material greed. What are some others?

The Israelites are complaining against God. I don't think the passage is saying that complaining against God is necessarily bad. After all, elsewhere Moses himself complains to God (is "to"God different from "against" God?) and does not get afflicted with snakes. Perhaps, though, the passage is warning that complaining against God can turn into snakes, such as when we give up on God.

I am unwilling to preach that God sends snakes to punish us. The death and resurrection of Christ is the cosmic game-changer that frees us from such punishments. However, I am willing to preach that we transmogrify our sins, including our excessive and disrespectful complaining, into that which injects venom into us. Unchristian complaining can be lethal.

Thanks be to God that Christ metamorphoses our sin into salvation through being lifted up on the cross.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





Sermon Thoughts for March 11, 2012
2012-03-05 by David von Schlichten

Exodus 20: What are some idols beyond the usual? For instance, when is family an idol? When is our health an idol?

Why is it OK for God to be jealous, but not us? Is God's jealousy different from ours? Does God exhibit righteous jealousy?

What do we often misunderstand about the Ten Commandments? It seems to me that we often think of the Ten Commandments reductively. Here are these ten rules. I need to follow them or else. Period. What are your thoughts?

1 Corinthians 1:18-25: What are ways that we experience cross-wisdom, which looks like foolishness, in everyday activities? 

John 2:13-22: Does this passage about Jesus cleansing the Temple imply that violence can be an acceptable method of problem-solving? As a pacifist, I hope not. What do you think?

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator





[First Page] [Prev] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 [Next] [Last Page]

Login - (This login is for administrators and bloggers. Usernames and passwords for GoodPreacher subscribers will not work here.)