October 15, 2017 United in Christ: Our Pledges Part 3 of our Stewardship Series
Most times Stewardship and financial giving to the church is framed in terms of a response to God's generosity in our lives. We give out of a response to what God has given us. This year Pastor Rob frames our giving in terms of our unity -- that we make a commitment and pledge together to the ministry to which God has invited us. The sermon is based on Luke 14:15-26.
October 8, 2017 United in Christ: The Body of Christ Part 2 of our Stewardship Series
Given the events in our nation and world, Pastor Rob takes us the question -- where is God in the midst of all of this, especially the violence and destruction of human life? Pastor Rob looks at Paul's letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 12:1-12) to explore and proclaim how God brings us together as the body of Christ to serve, pray and proclaim even amid human and natural tragedy.
October 1, 2017 United in Christ: The Cross Part 1 of our Stewardship Series
In a divided and even polarized time, Pastor Rob points toward our unity in Christ. Specifically Pastor Rob looks at Paul's letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 1:10-18) to explore and proclaim our unity in the cross.
September 24, 2017
What a difficult parable Jesus tells in Matthew 20:1-16. It seems to teach that hard work isn't rewarded. Pastor Rob reflects on how -- rather than offering ethical advice for the earthly economy -- Jesus offers us a glimpse of God's economy. In God's economy the currency is God's mercy, not our own merit!
September 17, 2017
Pastor Rob continues a two part sermon on forgiveness. Reflecting on Jesus' parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), we dive into what it means to forgive people, especially in difficult situations. Pastor Rob offers that the forgiveness we extend as humans, however good and difficult, is far less than God's forgiveness!
September 10, 2017
In today's Gospel, Jesus offers some very practical advice: When you have a conflict, go to a person one on one. (Matthew 18:15-20). In the age of talking heads and tweets, this seems more relevant than ever. The more we ponder Jesus' words though, the more we realize he is offering us life and hope, not just advice.
September 3, 2017
"If anyone wants to come after me, let them deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow me." These are Jesus' bold words of challenge that issues to his disciples in our Gospel story this week (Matthew 16:21-30). What does it mean to pick up our cross? In our busy world, the thought of picking up one more thing seems impossible!
August 27, 2017
What if the world is going to heck in a hand-basket? In our Gospel story this week (Matthew 16:13-20), the disciples are on the road to Caesarea Philippi . This town is Las Vegas meets Game of Thrones. It is precisely on this road that the disciples are called to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. This is a confession of hope.
August 24, 2017 (Wednesday night Bible Study)
When I was in Wittenberg Germany this summer celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I saw and learned my wonderful things. One of the sad things however, was learning more about the church's reaction to the Nazi state. While there are very inspiring stories of opposition, generally the (Lutheran) church failed to confront the Nazi state. I had wanted to share a bit about this chapter amid our 500th celebrations. The events in Charlottesville and media coverage about Neo-Nazis and Racism in America led me to conclude this was an appropriate time to discuss this. Rather than debate current events, I hope to offer a different perspective on church, state, confession, resistance and hope by examining the past. I offer my powerpoint presentation to help follow along with the notes as well as spur others along in their research.
Notes on audio file: We sing Beautiful savior near the beginning. If you want to scroll ahead, I am not offended!
August 7, 2017 Just like us, the disciples are overwhelmed by the problems of the world. Their way, all to often our way, is to give up. The way of Jesus is fundamentally different. It is a way of prayer, compassion and multiplication. We look at the feeding of the 5,000+ found in Matthew 14:13-21.
Sunday, July 30
Decisions, decisions, decisions. In life we face many decisions. How does God grant us wisdom to make tough decisions? Based on the story of Solomon and his dream, 1 Kings 3:1-15.
Sunday, July 23
What happens when we get stuck in life? Pastor Rob unpacks how God helps us turn the page the the next chapter of our lives, reflecting on Romans 8:12-26.
Sunday, July 16
Pastor Rob takes on the popular notion that our purpose in life is finding our passion. As Christians we find our meaning and purpose in following Christ as we serve our neighbor. Yes, this does relate to our passion, but not quite as the culture would teach us. Based on the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13:18-24.
Sunday, July 2
Jesus teaches us that taking up our cross means serving in humble and often small ways. As we live out Jesus' teachings, we discover God's power to make the ordinary into the extraordinary. Based on Matthew 10:38-42.
Sunday, June 11: Holy Trinity Genesis 1 and science often seem in such conflict that Christians back away from this beautiful and powerful passage in Scripture. In this sermon, Pr. Rob offers a look at Genesis 1. First, to see how science and Scripture intersect powerfully; and second, to learn what Scripture uniquely tells us about God and the universe.
Sunday, June 4: Pentecost The story of Pentecost is a wild one -- tongues of flame, large crowds, loud wind and languages of all varieties. What does this story have to do with our own? A special focus today is on the youth in our church who are confirmed and how they will take their place in the Pentecost story. The Pentecost story begins in Acts 2:1-13.
Sunday, May 28, 2017: Ascension Pastor Rob concludes his preaching series on Community in Christ. We tie it together by focusing on a central feature of the Christian Community: Joy in Christ. Indeed, the Gospel of Luke begins and ends with joy. But what to do when the world does not sing a joyful song to us? A reflection on the Ascension and Luke 24:36-53.
Sunday, May 21, 2017 Pastor Rob continues our preaching series on Community in Christ. This week we focus on the need to share the Good News of Jesus in a "marketplace of ideas." We learn from Paul how to do this -- and it starts with listening. Based on Paul's trip to Athens, found in Acts 17:16-34.
Sunday, May 14, 2017 Pastor Rob continues our preaching series on Community in Christ. This week we focus on the consequence of open hearts -- heartache! Loving our neighbor in Christ is not easy, especially those for whom we care deeply. A reflection on Mother's Day, Lollipops and Heartache. Based on Acts 7:54-60.
Sunday, May 7, 2017 Pastor Rob continues our preaching series on Community in Christ. This week we focus on an essential mark of the Christian community -- Open hearts! Hearts that are so open they lead to Open Doors! The sermon focuses on Acts 2:42-47.
Sunday, April 30, 2017 Pastor Rob launches a sermon series on Community. It is something we hunger for in our world. Christ offers us a place in the community called the Christian church. I begun our sermon series by focusing on worship as the central act of the Christian community, looking at Luke 24:13-35.
Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017
I just need it to be morning! We all go through long nights, long chapters of our lives in which we wait for the morning light. This Easter, as always, we hear the Good News that morning has come and Christ is Risen! The Gospel this morning is from Matthew 28:1-10.
Holy (Maundy) Thursday, April 13, 2017
Jesus begins to wash his disciples feet. Peter becomes very uncomfortable. Why is this? And why are we probably like Peter? It is hard to think of being served and being loved by Christ (John 13:1-35).
.April 2, 2017
Pastor Rob talks about real prayer -- as we are real with God in prayer, we discover who God really is. To get a real prayer, we focus on two grieving women (John 11:1-45)
March 25, 2017
Samuel, the great prophet of God, has lost his perspective on what is important to God and what is not. In life, even as faithful Christians, we can lose our godly perspective, missing out on the Kingdom of God!. Looking at the story of Samuel anointing David (1 Samuel 16:1-13) and Jesus giving sight to a blind man (John 9:1-42) we learn how God opens our eyes...and what this has to do with the two Baptisms at our church this day.
March 19, 2017
Jesus meets a woman at a well. Somehow, someway, Jesus shares the good news of his love with her. We can learn a great deal from Jesus about how we share the love of God with others, especially people who are spiritually dry. This sermon builds on John 4:5-42.
March 12, 2017
Nicodemus was a man whose life made sense...until Jesus showed up. This sermon builds on John 3:1-17 and is for anyone whose ever had their spiritual world suddenly not make sense.
Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2017
For Ash Wednesday, Pastor Rob reflects on the prophet Joel's command to "Rend your hearts." What does this mean? And why does this make sense for us to hear as we enter Lent? Pastor Rob offers that prayer is a way in which we can rend or open our hearts.
February 19, 2017
We hear Jesus famous and familiar words: "turn the other cheek." While they sound good, we all know this is a struggle to live this way. Pastor Rob warns against the temptation of watering Jesus words down (Matthew 5:31-38) for in them we discover the power and love of God.
February 12, 2017
We live in a world torn apart by anger. Pastor Rob reflects on Jesus words from Matthew 5:21-26 and Jesus' warning against anger. How do we live in and care for a world when "Anger Industries" seeks to spiral us out of control?
February 5, 2017
In celebration of the new pew Bibles and the giving of Bibles to our 3rd graders, Pastor Rob looks at Matthew 5:13-16 and proposes a way to do home devotions with the Bible. He employs 4 p-words: Ponder, Practical Application, Promise and Prayer. Note: This is not the recording from Sunday, but a later recording of the words for the website.
January 29, 2017
Power works much differently in the Kingdom of God than it does in the kingdom of the is world. Exploring the words of Paul (1 Corinthians 1:18-25) and Jesus, (Matthew 5:1-12), we examine what power looks like in God's Kingdom.
. January 22, 2017
In this Sunday's Gospel reading (Matthew 4:12-23), we hear Jesus call his to disciples to follow him. Pastor Rob shares the What, the Why, the How, and When and the Who of Jesus's call for us at St. Paul. Preview: Its about a great big net!
January 8, 2017 (Baptism of Jesus)
Do you ever get a case of "Januaritis" -- where you feel busy but don't feel like you are moving forward? Like you are moving but not making a difference? The cure of Januaritis is found in the waters of Baptism!
December 24 (Christmas Eve)
"Mary pondered these things in her heart." We come to Christmas Eve with much to ponder. What will we ponder this year? Pastor Rob invites you to ponder your life in light of the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-20).
December 11, 2016 (Advent III)
This morning's Scripture readings present us with two entirely different images: a confident and joyous Mary; a doubting and inprisoned John the Baptist. The life of a Christian includes both doubt and joy. Indeed, as we grow older, often our doubts increase as does our hunger for joy. Is there a way for our Advent to be filled with joy?
December 4, 2016 (Advent II)
This Sunday we hear the cry of John the Baptist, calling us to repent. Pastor Rob wrestles with repentance and hope in this sermon. (Note he begins the service wearing a purple stole and ends wearing a blue stole)
November 27, 2016 (Advent I)
December. Christmas. The busiest time of year! It can be such an exhausting time of year. How do we fill our hearts with the love, joy and peace of Christ and not just all the "stuff" of Christmas? Advent, Advent Wreaths and Prayer.
November 20, 2016
On this Sunday our church celebrated Christ the King Sunday. Before we focus on Jesus as a baby in Advent and Christmas, we remember him as the Triumphant King who rules for all time, having defeated death and sin. Today we focus on how Christ is a King unlike any other king or queen who has ever ruled on earth.
November 15, 2016
Pastor Rob did not preach on the election, however, he offered the congregation his thoughts on how to move forward as a church and indeed, a nation here.
October 30, 2016
499 years ago, Martin Luther began what would be known as the Protestant Reformation. In this sermon, Pastor Rob briefly reflects on the implications of the Reformation for prayer in the medieval times. The bulk of the sermon ponders how the Holy Spirit may again be calling us into a Reformation, specifically in how we pray.
October 23, 2016
In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to "Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:13-16)." In this sermon, Pastor Rob reflects on the purposes of our life, both as individuals and as a congregation..
October 16, 2016
This week we hear the story of a man named Jacob who wrestles with God (Genesis 32:22-31). Our nation is wrestling with a very bitter and divisive national election. All of this on a Sunday in which we were hoping to speak about hope! Yet in the wrestling with this story from Genesis and even in our wrestling with election, we find our deepest hope in Christ.
October 9, 2016 Jesus heals ten men; only one comes back to give thanks! (Luke 17:11-19). Kicking off a preaching series on Stewardship, Pastor Rob focuses on thanksgiving, especially for the ministry at St. Paul.
October 2, 2016 Pastor Rob ponders the prayer of the disciples: increase our faith (Luke 17:5-10). This is frequently our prayer as we go through life's ups and downs. So where do we get more faith? To answer that question we consider how our culture's focus on a personal relationship with Christ means we often miss the communal dimension of faith. There is a great abundance of faith when we turn to the community. We explore the power and nature at this communal sense of faith by reflecting on Saint Paul's words in his second letter to Timothy.
September 25, 2016 Jesus tells a truly haunting parable, in which little mercy seems to be found (Lazarus and the Rich Man, Luke 16:19-31). While we will get to the mercy of Jesus, we first have to confront the basic problem identified by Jesus: Sin makes us love things and use people!
September 11, 2016 This week we hear one of Jesus' great parables: The lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7). The parable really isn't about sheep though -- its about the Good Shepherd who finds us when we are lost.
June 12, 2016
Pastor Rob takes a hard look at the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12). David sins greatly. How does God's justice and mercy pour out into David's life? Into your and my life?
June 5, 2016
Pastor Rob talks about compassion, what this means and what this looks like in our life today. How does compassion guide our decisions in life?
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