Text: John 14:1-7
Theme: Why Christ Our Savior? Because He is the Way, Truth, and Life
Why are you here this morning? Why are you here instead of say, Community Lutheran Church just around the corner? Or why aren’t you at the Jehovah’s Witness’ place just down the road or Riverside Presbyterian on south side of 7? Why Christ Our Savior over the Baha’i Temple just east on 7 or Our Lady of Hope off Algonkian?
Why are you here? Why Christ Our Savior? There are thousands of different church bodies across our nation and dozens of churches within twenty miles of here, what makes this church any different from any of those other churches? What makes this church worth attending?
Maybe you chose Christ Our Savior because you grew up going to a Lutheran Church, so it’s what you are comfortable with. Maybe the Fall Festival we had yesterday brought you here. Maybe it was because the pastor here kept bugging you about coming to church.
Whatever your reason for being here today, let me suggest one more reason that should keep you coming here. Why Christ Our Savior… because Christ Our Savior is the place where your troubled heart can be completely stilled, where all of life’s problems can be put into a proper perspective.
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? I can offer you this because it what Jesus offers. “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” he said. Continue reading
The Believer Prays Persistently
Text: Luke 18:1-8
Theme: Don’t Give Up, Pray!
1) Pray Continually
2) Pray Boldly
Earlier this week I was in the middle of a bowl of cereal when Laura and the kids joined me for breakfast. Laura was busy getting her coffee ready (a very important step in the morning) and Gideon didn’t feel like waiting until Laura was done to start breakfast. He plopped down on the seat next to me, and asked for a bite of my breakfast.
At first, I held strong, “No Gideon, Mom will get you something in just a bit, this is Daddy’s breakfast.”
Now, those of you who have lived with small children know that just because you say “no” when one of your children asks for something, doesn’t mean that they’ll give up.
And so it went that morning, Gideon accepted my initial answer of “no”, waited a bit and then asked again… and again… and again… until low and behold, Dad started sharing his breakfast with Gideon.
You know, there is a lot that we can learn from children when it comes to faith and prayer. Jesus himself said the same thing when he was on this earth. Continue reading
Me Without You = Prejudiced (Jonah)
Text: Jonah 4
Theme: God Cares
In the Hoff house, we have three or four different Bible story books for our little ones. Every single one of them has the story of Jonah. It’s one of Gideon’s favorites because he gets to make a spitting noise when Jonah gets spit out by the fish.
The story of Jonah is easily one of the most famous in the Bible. People have always been fascinated by the story of the man who lived in the belly of a fish for three days. Jonah is a story colorful enough to get even the crustiest imagination going again. What was it like to be swallowed by a fish? What did he do for those three days in the fish’s belly?
What’s striking to me though, is how different the Biblical account of Jonah is compared to the children’s stories I have read more times than I care to count.
You see, when I read from Gideon’s Bible books at home, I read a fun, interesting story about a man who initially ran away from God’s command, but after the fish incident he went and preached and all was well.
But I’d encourage you to go home today and read the book of Jonah. It’s only four chapters, you can read it in ten minutes. When you read it straight from the Bible it becomes clear that there is nothing fun or happy-go-lucky about Jonah. The reading from Jonah 4 for today makes that clear. I almost cannot believe what I am reading. Continue reading
Me Without You = Paranoid (King Saul)
Text: 1 Samuel 22:6-16
Theme: God Is In Control, You Can Trust Him
I’m guessing all of you are up to speed on the latest happenings in the world of American politics. Many of you are probably sick of hearing about the fact that the United States government is in shutdown. But I couldn’t resist bringing up politics this morning.
Now I’m not a very political person, but every once in a while I like to turn on some talk radio to see what the folks at NPR and Rush are saying. I mostly do it because I get a kick out of it. I get a kick out of it because it never ceases to amaze me how unloving and paranoid people can be in the political world, how the idea of taking each other’s words and actions in the kindest possible way is basically unheard of on a show like Rush Limbaugh.
Today we are talking about paranoia, the sin of taking others words and action in the worst possible way, the sin of failing to trust in God with you whole heart (now we’ll get into how paranoia is really a lack of trust in God in a minute, but for now back to politics). For me, there is no better example of paranoia running wild than in the world of politics. Continue reading