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June 24, 2012

Series B                                                 John The Baptist              June 24, 2012
Luke 1:57-67
After today’s Gospel reading you may have been wondering, but no, we didn’t just suddenly skip 5 months and jump into Advent.  But then, Advent and Christmas didn’t just happen.  God had to plan and prepare for the first Christmas just like we have to today.  For John to precede Jesus and prepare the world for him, he had to be conceived and be born.  And John’s birth was almost as miraculous as Jesus’, and though John had an earthly father, he had a barren mother.  Obviously Mary, the mother of our Lord, was not barren for she would have at least 4 other children that…

June 10, 2012

Series B                                                     Pentecost II                  June 10, 2012
Mark 3:20-35
“Do You Know This Jesus?”
It took place just after Christmas in a church’s day care.  Children were returning from the Christmas hiatus.  When they left, the room was filled with decorations depicting the Christmas story, including a manger and the baby Jesus.  Now, all those decorations were down, and there was no baby or a manger.

4-year-old, Laurie, came into the room thinking about the baby Jesus.  Nowhere was there a picture of the baby Jesus.  Instead there was a picture of a grown-up Jesus on the bulletin board.

“Who is that man?” asked Laurie.

The teacher said, “That’s Jesus.”

Laurie shook her head and said, “He sure grew up fast”

Who is that man who grew…

June 3, 2012 – Holy Trinity Sunday

Series B                                              Holy Trinity Sunday             June 3, 2012
John 3:1-17
Aren’t we all a lot like Nicodemus.  We certainly are not Pharisees like he was, a member of the Jewish ruling council or the Sanhedrin, like he was.   But aren’t we here because we are all just as curious about Jesus as he was?  We encounter Nicodemus three times in the Gospel of John.  The first is right here in today’s Gospel.  The second takes place in John chapter 7.  At that time the Temple police were sent to arrest Jesus, but after listening to him they went back to the Pharisees empty handed.  When questioned why they failed in their task, the police reply:

“…No one ever spoke like…

May 27, 2012 – Pentecost Sunday

Series B                                                 Pentecost Sunday              May 27, 2012
Acts 2:1-21
Do you know that Common things like X-rays, Scotchgard, Ivory soap, Velcro, Levi jeans, chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, ice cream cones, and doughnuts were all the result of mistakes that people made.  Even Penicillin was discovered because Alexander Fleming, a Scottish bacteriologist working at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, in 1928, left a petrie dish containing staphylococci bacteria he was studying by an open window and bread mold spores were blown on the dish, contaminating the bacteria.  Before he threw away his spoiled experiment, Fleming looked at it under his microscope.  Surprisingly, he saw the mold dissolving the deadly staphylococci bacteria.  Another scientist, Constantin Fahlberg, studying coal tar, didn’t wash his…

May 20, 2012

Series B                                                      Easter VII                    May 20, 2012
John 17:6-19
“His Word Is Truth”
Here are some Newspaper headlines that seem to offer some strange truths:

1. Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

    (some truths are so evident you don’t need an expert for them) 2. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers 3. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendants

    (some truths can be truly disturbing) 4. Stolen Painting Found by Tree 5. Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter

     (some truths lead you wondering how that could be) 6. If Strike isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last a While

     (some truths are easy to figure out)

8. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

     (some truths we would…

May 13, 2012

Series B                                                       Easter VI                    May 13, 2012
John 15:9-17
“Being Jesus’Friend”
The fifth chapter of the first letter of John is an elaboration on the statement made in 3:23:

“Believe in the name of his son Jesus Christ, and love one another.”

5:1-6 focuses on believing in that name.  But even in the early church, there were those who claimed to believe in Jesus, but taught false doctrines.  The gifts of prophecy and ecstatic utterance were once con­sidered the highest gifts of the Spirit.  That changed once the church discovered that spirits other than God’s were also prone to give utterance.  The people needed a test.  The first test was whether the prophet could say, “Jesus is Lord”, but even that was discovered to…

April 29, 2012

Series B                                                       Easter IV                   April 29, 2012
John 10:11-18
The twentieth century was a period in time when churches talked together about their differences and similarities.  There were: mergers (like the Methodists and the E.U.B’s); and combinations (like the ELCA forming from the LCA, ALC, and the AELC); new opportunities for various Christian communities to worship and serve together (like the Lutheran cooperation agreements with the Reformed, Presbyterian and Episcopal Churches); and new understandings of how each group lives out God’s life given in Jesus.  Although some see this ecumenical movement as a way to create one church on earth, it has mostly been a celebration of the great diversity of people, ministries, and styles of worship that belongs…

April 15, 2012

Series B                                                        Easter II                    April 15, 2012
1 John 1:1-2:2                  John 20:19-31
St. Vincent de Paul ran an orphanage in Paris during the first half of the 17th century.  One winter day he opened the front gate to find an aban­doned infant lying in the snow.  He brought the bundled baby back into the warmth of the room where he was meeting with a number of wealthy women who helped support the orphanage.  Naturally, St. Vincent asked them what he should do with the tiny, frail creature.  One of the women suggested that perhaps God intended for the baby to die, as a punishment for the sins of the mother.  Appalled at this attitude, St. Vincent angrily retorted,


April 8, 2012 – Easter Sunday

Series B                                                   Easter Sunday                 April 8, 2012
Mark 16:1-8
It was Easter Sunday and Six-year old Katie and her four-year old brother Matt were sitting together in church.  Matt was giggling, talking out loud, and making obnoxious noises.  Finally, his big sister had had enough. “You’re supposed to be quiet in church.”

“Why?  Who’s going to make me?” Matt asked.  Katie knew she had to put the fear of God into her brother to quiet him so she pointed to the back of the church and said, “See those two men standing by the door?  They work for Jesus.  They’re his hushers.”

Easter begins with Fear!  How many of you came to church this morning so afraid you could not speak? …

April 8, 2012 – Easter Sunrise Service

Series B                                             Easter Sunrise Service           April 8, 2012
John 20: 1-18 (also Luke 24:13-39)
If you have ever had to bury a loved one, you can relate to the grief of Jesus’ disciples and friends on that first Easter morning.

One proverb which describes the followers of Jesus in those days following his crucifixion, has to be Proverb 29:18 which says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Though Jesus’ followers may not have been physically dead after his crucifixion; emotionally and spiritually, they were walking cadavers.  THEY HAD NO VISION.  On the morning we know as Easter, Mary Magdalene goes to Jesus’ tomb, not in anticipation of his resurrection, BUT TO COMPLETE HIS BURIAL.  Mary was crushed. …