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Becoming a Good Shepherd

Becoming a Good Shepherd

This morning we have one of the most common images within scripture: the Sheep and the Shepherd.

I served as an intern at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, where I was in charge of the Senior High Youth program for a while. During that time, I created a Facebook page with this picture of sheep as our primary picture.

sheep

The administrative manager within a couple of hours had come upstairs to my office and informed me that I needed to change the picture because “we might be the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd but we are not sheep”.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 23, 2018 in Sermons

 

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Awakening

We are in this time of post-Resurrection stories of Jesus the Christ.

Our scripture last Sunday was the infamous “Doubting Thomas”. Thomas had one moment of doubt and a lifetime of service, but is remembered for that one moment of doubt. Perhaps, we have been quick to judge Thomas because his doubt was shared by all the disciples according to our scripture this morning (Luke 24: 36-48).

Jesus the Christ appears in the locked (dark) room and says “peace be with you”. These disciples, similar to Thomas, are wondering what is happening. These disciples, similar to Thomas and ourselves, do not expect our deceased loved ones to be resurrected and to suddenly appear to us in a locked and darkened room.

Therefore, these disciples begin to say within their hearts and minds “this must be the ghost (“spirit”) of our teacher (Rabbi)”. The disciples do not voice this doubt, and yet Jesus knows it.

Jesus asks ‘why do doubts arise? I am not a ghost. See! Look at my hands and feet for I am bone and flesh’.

This raises a question for me: how did Jesus get into the locked room?

NO WONDER the disciples are trying to figure out what is happening.
NO WONDER doubt arises within their minds and hearts.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2018 in Sermons

 

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Believe It or Not…

“Doubting Thomas” is perhaps one of my favorite Sundays, which is always the Sunday after Resurrection/Easter morning.

Thomas is forever remembered for a single moment of doubt.

At times I wonder if we too are not remembered more for our moments of doubt than we are for our moments of faith. But doubt is an important part of our faith.

There are moments that happen in our lives that cause us to question because it defies our known reality and logic. Thus, we question our encounter.

“Doubting Thomas” always causes me to think about an Easter a few years ago.

I was serving as an Intern Pastor at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Olympia, Washington. My mother, step-father, sister, and her significant other were visiting from Arizona to celebrate Easter with me.

The following week, we decided to explore Seattle. After a walking tour in Pioneer Square, we decided to walk to Pike Place Market. My sister, Amanda, is a smoker and as we approached Pike Place Market she said “I have to smoke before getting into THAT crowd”. While the rest of us thought “Amanda, you JUST smoked”.

Note: Amanda was laughing because she knew it was true.

Amanda’s significant other was in a Starbuck’s phase at the time AND the original Starbuck’s is located in the Pike Place Market area. Therefore, we decided to walk to Starbuck’s so Amanda could smoke, he would see the Starbuck’s, and we all would have drinks for the marketplace.

As we walked to Starbuck’s, Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2018 in Sermons

 

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Now What?: an Easter Sermon

Welcome!

It has been a CRAZY week within the life of the church.

Palm/Passion Sunday, we came to worship and join in the triumphant celebration of this Rabbi (teacher). We were excited and hopeful that Jesus would take the throne of David, would reign over the people of God uniting the Southern and Northern Kingdoms as the Messiah of God.

On (Maundy) Thursday, Jesus is acting strange and not quite as upbeat giving his disciples commandments for how to live together with one another in this world WITHOUT him. Primarily the commandment to love one another, not as we love ourselves because there are loopholes within that, BUT as God through Christ first loved us.

On (Good) Friday, Jesus was arrested, beaten, and hung on a cross. This was the most shameful and disgraceful death in the Roman Empire.

On Holy (or Black) Saturday, we think of the disciples hidden away in an upper room scared, fearful, and anxious about that would happen next.

This morning, the women were doing their ordinary responsibilities and duties for that time and place which was preparing the oils and minerals to anoint the dead body of Jesus (the Christ). And yet, the unexpected happened. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2018 in Sermons

 

Maundy Thursday: That’s Love

Welcome to the Three Days!

The Three Days is the proper name for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy (or Black) Saturday. During these Three Days, we enter the end of our journey following Christ to the cross in his last days and hours. Perhaps, we receive the largest portion of teaching about truly following Christ (especially after he departs) during this time.

‘Maundy’ is derived from the Latin for mandate or command, but despite the “mandates” it remains the most joyful of the Three Days. Due to these mandates, it is rich in traditions and practices that liturgical nerds (like me) will love.

We begun tonight with the anointing with oil (laying on of hands).
Our service will continue with foot washing and Holy Communion.

Anointing with Oil/Laying on of Hands
The tradition of anointing with oil is one modern Lutherans are not necessarily accustomed with except for Baptism. However, the anointing with oil begun Holy Week with Jesus the Christ anointed ahead of and in preparation for his death and burial. The anointing with oil will also end Holy Week with Mary and the other women walking to Jesus’ tomb with oils prepared for the anointing of the dead.

The Washing of the Feet
The washing of the feet is also not a common practice for Lutherans.

How many have participated in the washing of the feet before?  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2018 in Sermons

 

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Journey to the Cross: an Invitation to Holy Week

Welcome to the beginning of Holy Week.

Holy Week is a powerful time in our church year and within our life of faith, but it is also a challenging week.

I have been thinking about how our gospel this morning (and week) is exactly what creates best-selling novels and movies. It has the full range of human emotion.

It has the joyful and triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

It has the hope of Jesus’ followers. The hope that he was the Messiah, the Anointed One, that they had been long awaiting to reunite the tribes of Israel and to take his throne establishing a reign that would not end.

It has the betrayal from one of the most inner-part of Jesus’ circle (of disciples/followers).

It has the denial of another from the most inner-circle of Jesus’ disciples.

If you noticed in our scripture this morning, the disciples and those following Christ are mentioned “at a distance”. It is as though they wanted to separate themselves from the one that would be shamed and disgraced by death upon a cross. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2018 in Sermons

 

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Lenten Meditation: The Word Sends

“For faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example.
I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force.
I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing.
And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.”

Martin Luther, Eight Sermons at Wittenberg (1522)

We are concluding our series based on Journey of Lent: the Seven Wonders of the Word. We have briefly explored and pondered how the Word, both written Scripture and Christ, has the ability to create, call, command, shape and sustain. The remaining wonders of the Word is its ability to save and send.

Although I did not and will not focus on the ability of the Word to save, I had alluded to the widely held misconceptions regarding my responsibilities as a called and ordained Minister:

  1. It is not my responsibility to ‘shape’ you into Biblical Living and Old Testament law-abiding Christians. The Word shapes us.
  2. It is not my responsibility to ‘sustain’ (‘fulfill’) you in your spiritual journey.
    Again, the Word sustains us.
  3. It is not my responsibility to bring anyone to faith or to ‘save’ them.
    Again, the Word saves us.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2018 in Sermons

 

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