Sermon Ideas for July 3, 2011
2011-06-29 by David von Schlichten

Zechariah: This passage promises a king, but a humble king. We baptized citizens of the kingdom are to imitate that humility, and we do so confident in the saving power of the king.

What all does the king save us from? The Donkey-Ridding Monarch gives us eternal life, yes, but how else is this ruler our savior? What does "salvation" entail?

Psalm 145 is an acrostic psalm of praise. It praises God from A to Z. A sermon in that shape could be poedifying.

The excerpt for this Sunday mentions that God cares for all of creation and that all of creation praises God. It is important for us Christians to remember that all of creation receives God's love and Christ's redemption, not just humans.

Romans 7: I don't do what I know is right! Who can't relate to that? We could invite people to consider what tempts them, what their Achilles' Heel is when it comes to sin. (One of mine is gluttony; I eat more than I need to. People might think that's funny, but over-eating is a serious issue.)

Of course, the larger point of the passage is our need for Christ. In Christ lies hope for the otherwise hopeless.

Matthew 11: Jesus gets criticized; John gets criticized. As a Christian, you can't win with all the people all the time. Somebody is going to find fault. What matters is pleasing God, not people. In fact, frankly, some people you're better off not pleasing.

The passage promises a burden that is light. Yes, following Christ is demanding, but it also brings rest and refreshment. How is this so? Here are some ways that come to mind: forgiveness of sin, the support of the brothers and sisters, the nourishment of holy communion, the comfort and guidance of Scripture and sermon.

Independence Day: Yes, we have wonderful freedoms in this country, thanks be to God, but the greater freedom is won through Christ and is for, not just Americans or even humans, but all.

What ideas do you have? Feel free to tell me via email or to post an idea here.

Celebrating the publication of "H-E-Double Hockey Stick," my children's novel based on Dante's "Inferno" (which is available for Nook and Kindle), I am a shameless self-promoter and also

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Initial thoughts for July 3, 2011, Pentecost 3
2011-06-27 by David von Schlichten

Zechariah 9:5-12: This passage calls the people of God "prisoners of hope." What a phrase! What does it mean to be a prisoner but of hope?

Psalm 145: Verse nine says that God is good to all. That doesn't seem true. How do we explain this verse given that so many people, including those who are devoted to God, suffer so?

Romans 7:15-25: I do the things I don't want to do. The point of this passage is that we are hopelessly depraved and so must rely on Christ. In what ways do we try to be our own savior?

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30: The yoke is easy and the burden is light. This sounds paradoxical. How do we resolve the paradox? I find being a Christian to be pretty hard work, so what does Jesus mean by saying that the yoke is easy and the burden is light?

Independence Day: This is a civil holiday not a religious one (contrary to popular belief), so we need to proceed with caution. That said, could we use the occasion to preach about the freedom/enslavement we have because of Christ? Moreover, this status is for all people, not just Americans.

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

How To Avoid Becoming a False Prophet
2011-06-25 by David von Schlichten

That's the title of my sermon for this Sunday (June 26), and it is available for your critique at the Sermon Feedback Cafe. Cheers!

Celebrating the Augsburg Confession's 481st birthday, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Sermon Ideas for June 26, 2011
2011-06-24 by David von Schlichten

Genesis 22: See the post below this one for thoughts about preaching on this passage. A reader sent me a compelling point that I responded to below.

Jeremiah 28:5-9: This is an alternate first reading to the Genesis passage. This text from Jeremiah tells the story of Hananiah the false prophet. Most people probably don't know this story, so it could be especially engaging to preach on. A sermon on this story could focus on how to determine a true prophet from a false one and how to keep from being a false prophet.

Let me elaborate on this last point. Hananiah, the false prophet, is not trying to trick anyone. He truly believes what he is prophesying. It just so happens that he's wrong. How do we keep ourselves from proclaiming that which is mistaken?

Psalm 13: It practically preaches itself.

Psalm 89: This song praises God but then (beyond our pericope boundaries) goes on to lament over God's abandoning of his people and begs God to help them. How do we praise and trust in God in times of apparent theo-absence?

Romans 6:12-23: There is much in this passage. One valuable point is that Paul exhorts the people to not let sin have dominion over their mortal bodies. One move in a sermom, then, could be to go from body part to body part and consider how that body part can serve God. "How do your hands serve God? You feet? Your mouth?" You get the idea. 

Of course, we'd want to stress that our bodies can serve God only because Christ has died for us and so we live liberated from sin. In other words, we cannot serve God on our own but only because Christ has freed us.

Matthew 10:40-42: This passage assures the disciples that those who welcome them will be blessed. How can we welcome one another? Through Christ, we are welcomed so that we may be welcoming.

The disciples are essentially ambassadors for Christ. Serving them is the same as serving Christ. This idea of being Christ's ambassador is found elsewhere in Scripture and would be nourishing to preach on.

Augsburg Confession: For Lutherans, I'd like to point out that June 25 is the anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession, so it would make solid sense to incoporate the Confession into Sunday's sermon.

What ideas do you have? Feel free to send me a private message or to submit something here for the Tub. Hot and bubbly!

Turning 42 on Monday, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Genesis22: Fathers Sacrificing Their Sons
2011-06-22 by David von Schlichten

A reader pointed out to me the many ways that fathers sacrifice their sons, such as by forcing them to play a sport the son doesn't want to play or by forcing them to take over the family business or by forcing them to conform to a gender role that the son is not comfortable with. The reader makes a compelling point. Thank you, reader, for your contribution!

We could also consider more broadly how parents in general sacrifice their sons or daughters and, for that matter, how we adults sacrifice children to various idols. I think of parents who live vicariously through their children ("Toddlers in Tiaras") or parents who triangulate their children in the midst of a family dispute (such as a divorce).

Of course, in all those examples, the sacrificing of the child is a bad thing. In Genesis 22, God commands Abraham to make the sacrifice. God stops the sacrifice, but God still commands it. Moreover, Abraham is held up as a model of faithfulness precisely because he was willing to sacrifice his son. Yikes.

Then we have God sacrificing the Son on the cross. This sacrifice is different, as well, in part because the Son is God. Thus, this Son-sacrifice is really a self-sacrifice on God's part. God sacrificing the Son is NOT divine child-abuse. 

What thoughts do you have about this horrific idea of child-sacrifice and how to proclaim that?

I encourage others to send me questions or comments or to submit something for posting here. Dive in!

Wearing a shirt he received on Father's Day, I am 

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

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