The 3rd Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 7A (6/25/2017)

Lessons:
Jeremiah 20:7-13
Psalm 69:7-10 [11-15] 16-18 (16)
Romans 6:1b-11
St. Matthew 10:24-39

Semicontinuous Series:
Genesis 21:8-21
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 (16)

Prayer of the Day:
Teach us, good Lord God, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, except that of knowing that we do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

10.24 “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

St. Matthew 10:24-39 New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Pastor Dave is out of the office this week. Please enjoy this reprise of his 2008 devotional message for Proper 7A.

Disciples of Jesus

Saint Peter Lutheran Church is a “discipleship congregation.” We have chosen Jesus’ final words to his disciples in Matthew’s Gospel for our mission statement: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” We have articulated “Five Habits of Discipleship” that we seek to practice in our individual and corporate lives. We have even revamped our congregation’s structure to include as one of our central Ministry Teams a Discipleship Team – charged with teaching us about discipleship, and encouraging our efforts to practice these habits in our daily lives. Saint Peter Lutheran Church is a “discipleship congregation.” (more…)

The 3rd Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 7A (6/25/2017)

Lessons:
Jeremiah 20:7-13
Psalm 69:7-10 [11-15] 16-18 (16)
Romans 6:1b-11
St. Matthew 10:24-39

Semicontinuous Series:
Genesis 21:8-21
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 (16)

Prayer of the Day:
Teach us, good Lord God, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, except that of knowing that we do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

10.24 “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32 “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

35For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.


St. Matthew 10:24-39 New Revised Version Bible ©1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

A devotional message based on this text will be posted by Tuesday evening.

Laboring Together with Christ

Date: June 18, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Second Sunday after Pentecost; Year A

a prayer of Jesus
laborers in the harvest
our call to mission

Summary:
Filled with compassion for the people, Jesus cries out for God to send “laborers into the harvest.” This work of love and compassion and grace is the work God’s people continue today.

Some discussion Questions:
1. What does St. Matthew mean by “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom?”
2. How is it that suffering has led to endurance, character and hope in my life?
3. What, in my experience, causes me to be thankful for what God has accomplished?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-06-18 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-06-18 TIH

The 2nd Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 6A (6/18/2017)

Lessons:
Exodus 19:2-8a
Psalm 100
Romans 5:1-8
St. Matthew 9:35-10:8 (9-23)
Semicontinuous Readings:
Genesis 18:1-15 [21:1-7]
Psalm 116:1, 10-17

Prayer of the Day:

Teach us, good Lord God, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to ask for reward, except that of knowing we do your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

9.35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

10.1 Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. (more…)

Majesty and Mistery

Date: June 11, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Feast of the Holy Trinity; Year A

holy trinity
majesty and mystery
the presence of God

Adoration of the Trinity

Summary:
Scripture proclaims God to be one, yet three. We experience our one God as Father (Creator), Son (Savior) and Spirit (Sustainer). Reflecting on our experience of God, we draw near to the majesty and mystery of One who loves us.

Some discussion Questions:
1. How have I experienced God as Creator, Savior and Sustainer?
2. How do Father, Son and Spirit relate to grace, love and communion?
3. What does the first chapter of Genesis mean when, at the end of a day of creating, “God saw that it was good?”

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-06-11 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-06-11 TIH

The Feast of the Holy Trinity; Year A (6/11/2017)

Lessons:
Genesis 1:1-2:4a
Psalm 8
2nd Corinthians 13:11-13
St. Matthew 28:16-20

Prayer of the Day:
God of heaven and earth, before the foundation of the universe and the beginning of time you are the triune God: Author of creation, eternal Word of salvation, life-giving Spirit of wisdom. Guide us to all truth by your Spirit, that we may proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the glory he shares with us. Glory and praise to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

28.16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

St. Matthew 28:16-20, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Mystery and Majesty

This coming Sunday is “The Feast of the Holy Trinity” in the Christian calendar. It is a day when we lift up the ancient belief that our God is one, and that our God is three. The Word Trinity is found nowhere in our Bible. It is a word that the church created years after the Bible was written. In a time when believers were arguing whether God was “one being” or “three beings,” Trinity — combined of “tri” for three, and “unity” for one — professes the belief that God is not one or the other. God is both. (So, in one of my favorite elusive answers, when asked, “Is God three or is God one?” the correct answer is: “No.”) (more…)

The Feast of Pentecost; Year A (6/4/2017)

Lessons:
Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
1st Corinthians 12:3b-13
St. John 20: 19-23

Prayer of the Day:
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as you sent upon the disciples the promised gift of the Holy Spirit, look upon your Church and open our hearts to the power of the Spirit. Kindle in us the fire of your love, and strengthen our lives for service in your kingdom; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

2.1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ”

Acts 2:1-21, New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

God’s Deeds of Power

When I was in High School there was a great deal of talk about the power of the Holy Spirit. Friends of mine who hadn’t been particularly interested in faith matters were caught up in the Spirit and became believers. Young people who were embarking on careers sensed the Spirit nudging them to enroll in a certain school or take a certain job or move to a certain part of the country. Worshippers in neighboring congregations (although not in my congregation!) who were touched by the Spirit began to speak in unintelligible languages. People who were struggling with illnesses of all sorts credited the Spirit with having received the gifts of healing and new life.

I often felt intimidated when people would make witness to these kinds of experiences. (more…)

You Will Be My Witnesses

Date: May 28, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Seventh Sunday of Easter; Year A

living lives of faith
you will be my witnesses
the call from Jesus

Summary:

In his last meeting with his disciples, Jesus doesn’t invite them to make witness to him — instead, he informs them that they “will be” his witnesses. What sort of witness will our lives make? How will we continue the ministry they began?

Some discussion Questions:
1.  Where does Jesus anticipate that his followers will witness to the good news he has shared with them?
2. In John 17:1-11, what does Jesus ask God to do for his followers (and us) as they represent him in the world?
3. In 1st Peter 4, what encouragement does Peter offer to those who witness to Jesus in difficult times?

Download Sermon: 2017-05-28 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-05-28 TIH

The Seventh Sunday of Easter; Year A (5/28/2017)

Lessons
Acts 1:6-14
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
1st Peter 4:12-17, 5:6-11
St. John 17:1-11

Prayer of the Day
O God of glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to your right hand. Unite us with Christ and each other in suffering and in joy, that all the world may be drawn into your bountiful presence, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

1.6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.


The Acts of the Apostles 1:6-14, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

You Will Be My Witnesses

It was a roller-coaster ride for the disciples of Jesus. Early on he seemed to be a wise and insightful rabbi. Eventually the miracles and healings reveal him to be far more than this. Towards the end, they begin to suspect that he is actually the Messiah: the Christ of God. Holy Week, and his humiliating death on a cross between two criminals, are experiences that crush their hopes. But come Sunday morning, in an unexpected turn of events, it is reported that he has come back to life. Eventually he is standing in front of them, raised from the dead, and poised to fulfill his role as the restorer of God’s kingdom. They are ecstatic with anticipation. Perhaps he is the Messiah. Perhaps God has sent him to institute a new order on earth. Perhaps they have been fortunately born: present on earth at the exact time when the Messiah comes to the people of God who have been waiting for so many years. (more…)

The Seventh Sunday of Easter; Year A (5/28/2017)

Lessons
Acts 1:6-14
Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35
1st Peter 4:12-17, 5:6-11
St. John 17:1-11

Prayer of the Day
O God of glory, your Son Jesus Christ suffered for us and ascended to your right hand. Unite us with Christ and each other in suffering and in joy, that all the world may be drawn into your bountiful presence, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

1.6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.


The Acts of the Apostles 1:6-14, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

A devotional message based on this text will be posted by Tuesday evening.