Come, and See

Date: January 14, 2018
Liturgical Day: The First Sunday after the Epiphany; Year B

true evangelism
Philip says to Nathanael
Come and see


Summary:

These days evangelism seems to have a bad name. But Philip shows us that it actually is quite simple and quite gracious. It has to do with inviting others to come and see how faith has blessed us, and the difference it makes in our lives.

Some discussion Questions:
1. Why do so many cringe, today, at the notion of evangelism?
2. What simle invitation does Philip make to his good friend Nathanael?
3. What do I appreciate most about my faith, and how might I share this, with grace and humility?

Download Sermon: 2018-01-14 Sermon

He Must Increase, but I Must Decrease.

Date: January 7, 2018
Liturgical Day: The Baptism of Our Lord; Year B

the witness of John
a humble, faithful model
Christ is the main thing

Summary:
John understood that his primary purpose was to help people reconnect with God, and prepare them to receive the message and ministry of Jesus. He knew it wasn’t about him — it was about Jesus. We best honor him by organizing our lives around the same principle.

Some discussion Questions:
1. Why does it seem that John is so insistent on drawing attention away from himself and towards Jesus?
2. Was it Jesus’ intent to develop a new religious tradition around himself, or to draw people back to God in a meaningful way?
3. How might I focus less on myself, and more on serving others, so that I might help people reconnect with God?

Download Sermon: 2018-01-07 Sermon

Merry Christmas… All Year Long

Date: December 32, 2017
The Seventh Day of Christmas
Liturgical Day: The First Sunday of Christmas; Year B

Anna, Simeon

faithful saints in the Temple

attentive to God

Summary:
Today we hear the story of Simeon and Anna — two Saints of God who spend their lives in the Temple, worshipping, fasting and praying. They are among the few who recognized Jesus for who he is: the promised Messiah. Their faithfulness, and awareness of the ways of God, invite us to become more aware of what God is doing in the world today.

Some discussion Questions:
1. What causes Simeon and Anna to recognize who Jesus actually is?
2. How might I become more intentional about studying the ways of God, and growing in faith?
3. Where is God involved in my world today?

Download Sermon: 2017-12-31 Sermon

Download Simeon and Anna Plan Commitment Form: form

The Word Become Flesh

Date: December 25, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Nativity of Our Lord; Christmas Day

God in human flesh
transcendent and immanent
that we might have life

Summary:
This morning we remember, and celebrate. From the simple tale of a birth in Bethlehem, to the expansive vision of God’s creating word. From the word proclaimed in the scriptures, to the real presence of Christ received in the meal. From the declaration of absolution in the liturgy, to the witness we share with our neighbors. The babe of Bethlehem. The word become flesh. The incarnate God, who enters into our lives, and draws us into this story.

Download Sermon: 2017 Christmas Day Sermon

A Simple, Beautiful Story

Date: December 24, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Nativity of Our Lord; Christmas Eve

the heart of our faith
Immanuel; God with us
with each one of us

Summary:
The simple, unassuming story of a baby’s birth in Bethlehem is the Christmas story. It begins in Bethlehem and continues in us. It is the story that bears Christ into our lives, and through us, into today’s world. “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” May we do the same!

Download Sermon: 2017 Christmas Eve Sermon

Gabriel, Mary, and the Birth of the Messiah

Date: December 24, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Fourth Sunday of Advent; Year B

a servant of God
Mary, Mother of our Lord
strong, bold and faithful

Summary:
The Annunciation (of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary) is an amazing story, told by St. Luke in an extraordinary way. And as we read slowly and carefully enough to notice what this story is telling us, and to wonder what it might mean for us, we find ourselves invited into the Christmas story in a new and fresh way.

Download Sermon: 2017-12-24 Sermon

The Season of Advent with Isaiah, the Prophet 

This year at Saint Peter Lutheran Church during the season of Advent, a four-week time of preparing for Christmas by preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ into our lives, we spent time with the Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah is one of the greatest of the prophets in the Hebrew Bible; he appears at a critical time in Israel’s history. Israel (the northern kingdom) was conquered by Assyria in 722 b.c., and in 587 b.c. Jerusalem (capital of Judah, the southern kingdom) fell to the Babylonians.

Isaiah’s ministry most likely took place in Jerusalem from 740 to 681 b.c. In 740, Isaiah was called by God to ministry. Jewish tradition held that Isaiah was sawed in half by Manasseh (Hezekiah’s son) in the year 681 (a story referenced by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 11:37).

Isaiah is one book in our Bible, but it most likely began as three separate works. First Isaiah (chapters 1-39) includes prophecies from Isaiah while he is living in Judah, during the time when Israel is annexed by Assyria, and before Judah is destroyed by Babylon. Isaiah calls the people of Judah to stay true to God, or the same will happen to them. He is particularly concerned with social justice, and how Judah’s faithlessness in this area is an indication of its tenuous relationship with God.

Second Isaiah (chapters 40-55), written in Isaiah’s voice, but clearly not by Isaiah, is set during the exile in Babylon. Many historians date this from 587 to 538 b.c. Cyrus of Persia (who conquered Babylon) is seen as a Messianic hero, because his military victory over Babylon allows the people of Israel to return to their home — an event that is described with great joy. This section emphasizes God’s ability to use historical events to advance righteousness.

Third Isaiah (chapters 56-66), by an anonymous author, was probably written between 530 and 510 b.c., after the return to Judah. God’s people are putting their destroyed nation together, and it is a very harsh life. Isaiah offers them words of hope and encouragement.

During this season, Pastor Dave offered sermons during Wednesday evening prayer based on texts from Isaiah. These sermons intended to help us sit at the feet of Isaiah and explore how to understand better the relationship we are invited to have with God, as well as the historical context of the life and ministry of Jesus, the Christ. Texts from his sermon are linked below

November 29 — Wednesday before the First Sunday of Advent
“Oh That You Would Come!” (Isaiah 64:1-9)
Advent 1B.Wednesday.2017

December 6 — Wednesday before the Second Sunday of Advent
“Comfort, O Comfort My People” (Isaiah 40:1-11)
Advent 2B.Wednesday.2017

December 13 — Wednesday before the Third Sunday of Advent
“Righteousness and Praise” (Isaiah 61:1-4)
Advent 3B.Wednesday.2017

December 20 — Wednesday before the Fourth Sunday of Advent
“Unto Us” (Isaiah 9:2-7)
Advent 4B.Wednesday.2017

In the Wilderness

Date: December 17, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Third Sunday of Advent; Year B

in the wilderness
make straight the way of the Lord
the witness of John

Summary:
John was sent to prepare people for Christ. Matthew, Mark and Luke emphasize his ministry of baptism in the Jordan River. The Fourth Gospel emphasizes his role as a witness in the wilderness. To what wilderness settings does Jesus come today?

Some discussion Questions:
1. What is the central purpose of John the Baptizer’s ministry, according to this Gospel?
2. What are the marks of a faithful life that the Apostle Paul describes in this passage?
3. What promise does Isaiah make on behalf of God to those who were returning from exile to Jerusalem?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-12-17 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-12-17 TIH

Preparation, Repentance, Forgiveness

Date: December 10, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Second Sunday of Advent; Year B

John, the baptizer
preparing the way for Christ
the gift of new life

Summary:
The story of John, the Baptizer, stands front and center at the beginning of all four Gospel accounts. We turn to him every Advent, as we explore the importance of baptism in our life together today.

Some discussion Questions:
1. How does John the Baptizer prepare the people to receive Jesus into their lives?
2. In Isaiah 40, what relationship does the prophet envision between the people of Israel and God?
3. Is the promised end of time good news or bad news for us today?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-12-10 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-12-10 TIH

The Return of Christ

December 3, 2017
The First Sunday in Advent: Year B

in a world gone bad
the promise of Christ’s return
source of hope and peace

Summary:
In the “Little Apocalypse of St. Mark” Jesus promises to return to earth one day and gather the elect to God. We may not be living in a time and place where many long for the end to come, but these still can be words of hope for us today.

Some discussion Questions:
1. How do I understand the promised return of Christ to this world?
2. What does Isaiah mean (in 64:8) by “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father?
3. In 1st Corinthians 1:3-9, what does the Apostle Paul notice, and what does he promise?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-12-03 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-12-03 TIH