“God’s Work. Our Hands.” Sunday

Date: September 17, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 19A

serving our neighbor
Christ’s church, better together
reflection of Christ

Summary:
From the beginning, Lutherans have had a strong commitment to being caring neighbors to those in need. We will live this out today by serving throughout the community. It is what it means to be Christ’s Church! Better Together!

Some discussion Questions:
1. Why does Jesus direct Peter to forgive for what seems an impossible amount of times?
2. In Romans 14:1-12, what advice does Paul give to Christians who disagree over maters of practice and belief?
3. Reflecting on Genesis 50:15-21, when has something distressing in my life happened, through which God was able to do good?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-09-17 TIH

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-09-17 sermon

The 15th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 19A (9/17/2017)

Lessons:
Genesis 50:15-21
Psalm 103: [1-7) 8-13
Romans 14:1-12
St. Matthew 18:21-35

Semicontinuous Reading and Psalm:
Exodus 14:19-31
Psalm 114
or Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21

Prayer of the Day:
O Lord God, merciful judge, you are the inexhaustible fountain of forgiveness. Replace our hearts of stone with hearts that love and adore you, that we may delight in doing your will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Lesson:

18.21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. 23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

St. Matthew 18:21-35, 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.

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

A Cross-Shaped Life

Date: September 3, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 17A

following Jesus
loving and serving others
no matter the cost

Christo Crucificado, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1627

Summary:
We, like Peter, can find it hard to understand and embrace a life that has suffering and sacrifice at its core. Yet Jesus declares this is what leads to true life. May we heed his call, and as we give to others may we know his presence.

Some discussion Questions:
1. Why does Jesus refer to Peter (upon whom he promises to build the church) as Satan in this text?
2. In Jeremiah 15, how does the Prophet describe the people of ancient Israel?
3. According to Romans 12, in what circumstances would it be wise if I attempted to “overcome evil with good?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-09-03 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-09-03 TIH

Who Do You Say that I Am?

Date: August 27, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 16A

Peter’s confession
Messiah and Son of God
a rock-solid faith

Christ’s Charge to Peter, by Rafael (1515-1516)

Summary:
Peter confesses Jesus to be Messiah and Son of the Living God, and Jesus declares that this confession will be the rock-solid foundation of the church. How is our faith, and our capacity to trust in God above all else, a foundation for living?

Some discussion Questions:
1. What does it mean to trust Jesus with all of our heart, even when we find ourselves in the midst of trouble and difficulty?
2. What gifts has God given me? (In Romans 12:1-8, the Apostle mentions ministry, teaching, exhortation, generosity, leadership, compassion…)?
3. What does it entail, in my life, to “pursue righteousness?”

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-08-27 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-08-27 TIH

In God We Trust

Date: August 13, 2017
Liturgical Day: The 10th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 14A

trusting in our God
with neither fear nor hatred
living faithfully

Saint Pierre Attempting to Walk on Water by Francois Boucher; Versailles, 1766

Summary:
Faith is a word that can have a variety of meanings. Some think of it as “correct belief.” Others think of it as “trust.” In this week’s Gospel lesson, Jesus encourages Peter to have faith in a difficult and dangerous situation: to trust. How might we, in these divided and dangerous days, learn how to trust in God, and in God’s ability to lead us forward to a better and more faithful future?

Some discussion Questions:
1. What led to Peter’s success (and failure) in his attempt to walk on water with Jesus?
2. In Romans 10, how is the righteousness that comes from the law different from the righteousness that comes from faith?
3. In 1st Kings 19, what does it mean that Elijah heard God’s voice coming from “a sound of sheer silence?”

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-08-13 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-08-13 TIH

It Is Christ Who Feeds

August 6, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 13A

thousands of people
hungry in the wilderness
fed by Jesus’ hand

The Feeding of the Five Thousand by Hendrick de Clerck (1590)

Summary:
In the wilderness, the compassion of God is evident when Jesus feeds a great crowd of men, women and children. He continues to feed us today, through bread and wine, word and presence, community and solitude…

Some discussion Questions:
1. In what ways does Jesus satisfy the hunger of those who believe in him?
2. Using the image of food that is rich and good, what does Isaiah (in Isaiah 55:1-5) want his listeners to experience about God?
3. For whom would we love enough to be willing to be excluded from Gods family, if it led to their inclusion?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-08-06 sermon

Download Discussion Questions:  2017-08-06 TIH

Rules, Rules and More Rules

Date: July 30, 2017
Liturgical Day: The 8th Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 12A

Jesus’ parables
new insights to faithfulness
living lives of love

Summary:
With four puzzling parables, Jesus calls us to reimagine what it means to be God’s faithful people. Pastor Dave reflects on how campers are stirred to faithfulness at Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp, and how we can be too.

Some discussion Questions:
1. As Lutherans we are fond both of what is old and what is new — how is this helpful for my faith?
2. When have I noticed the kind of faithfulness, righteousness or uprightness of heart toward God in someone that Solomon mentions in 1 Kings 3:5-12?
3. According to Romans 8:28, what does it mean that all things (even bad things) work together for good for those who love God?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-07-30 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-07-30 TIH

An Approach to Evil

Date: July 23, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 11A

weeds sown among wheat
let them be — plant seeds of faith
our call to service

Summary:
In today’s Gospel lesson Jesus uses a surprising image which encourages us to leave the eradication of evil to others, and spend our time being agents for good. Our church has a long tradition of encouraging this. How will we live it out in our day-to-day lives?

Some discussion Questions:
1. How will I focus less on the evil around me and more on the good I am called to do?
2. What encouragement does Paul provide  in Romans 8:12-25 for those of us who want to follow Christ with our lives?
3. Reflecting on Isaiah 44:6-8, why does following and trusting in God allow a believer to be less captivated by fear?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-07-23 sermon

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-07-23 TIH

A Sower Went Out to Sow

July 16, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 10A

parables of life
a sower sowing his seeds
extravagant grace

Sower with Setting Sun; Vincent Van Gogh (1888)

Summary:
Today’s parable speaks to us on multiple levels. The image of the Sower teaches us about God. The image of the seed teaches us about the power of God’s word. The image of the harvest teaches us about ourselves. How is God speaking to each of us today through this story?

Some discussion Questions:
1. When have I doubted that good could come… that sowing seed could lead to bearing fruit?
2. In Isaiah 55:10-13, what does it say about Isaiah’s faith that he imagines all of creation praising God’s work?
3. In Romans 8:1-11, how does the Apostle Paul describe the way life changes for those whose hearts are captured by God’s Spirit?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 2017-07-16 TIH

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-07-16 sermon

Rest for Your Souls

Date: July 9, 2017
Liturgical Day: The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost; Proper 9A

learning from Jesus
discovering life with God
the gift of sacred rest

Jesus, the Teacher; by Durio di Buoninsegna (1308-11)

Summary:

There have always been numerous, conflicting expectations of who God is and what God will do. Many of these expectations, including our own, can be unrealistic. But when we allow God to be God, our souls can know true rest.

Some discussion Questions:
1. How do the concepts of yoke, burden and rest relate to one another in today’s Gospel lesson?
2. How do the concepts of triumph, victory, dominion and humility relate to one another in Zechariah 9:9-12?
3. When have I experienced the inner turmoil that the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 7?

Download Sermon and Presentation Slides: 

Download Discussion Questions: 2017-07-09 TIH