I've decided to start sharing the YouTube videos of my sermons here on my blog. I've had some people comment that they enjoy watching them and this will keep them in one place together.
This is from this past Sunday, August 6th. It is based on the texts from Isaiah 55:1-5 and Matthew 14:13-21
Food is one of those foundational things for our lives and yet it can get pretty expensive. When you go to a professional sporting event, concert, or other large event you often find yourself being asked to pay exponentially more that what the food is actually worth. If you shop for your own food you can often find good deals, but yet you will still end up spending quite a bit every month for food.
We have good news as Christians. Jesus had compassion on us and came into this broken, sinful world. He experienced hunger, tiredness, thirst, temptation, loss, conflict, sickness, torture and death. And yet he continued to love and have compassion. He feeds us with FREE spiritual food and gives it to us in abundance so we always have more than we need!
This past week served as a great reminder that people will find any reason they can to argue. It doesn't matter if the issues are significant or simple, there just seems to be something inside of us that likes to argue. It doesn't matter whether it is in friendships, our families, our communities, or even in our churches, no place is immune to arguing.
I was a little worked up this week about an argument that I observed taking place online. I normally don't get too worked up about such things but I thought this one was so absurd from all sides that I became a bit agitated.
Fortunately Jon Stewart was around this week to remind us all that ridiculous arguments aren't really that uncommon and that we will really find any reason to argue that we can.
Apparently some 4th graders were studying how the government operates. This is a great thing. Coming from a political science background in college I would recommend everyone spending some time learning about how your government operates. So they partnered with a senator to propose a bill that would make yogurt the official snack of the state of New York. That seems pretty benign, right? It isn't related to any major social or political policy so it shouldn't take much time to get this through.
It turns out that they spent 50 minutes debating this bill. That is 10 minutes less than an hour and probably 47 minutes longer than they should have spent on it. Anyway, you just have to watch the video clip above to get the full sense of what happened.
Now I'd be remiss if I didn't make some theological connection to this conversation. Why do we do this? Why do we argue so much? It is because we are naturally focused on ourselves. Our natural inclination is to focus on ourselves and our own needs and desires and not on those of others. This is problematic when you get 2 or more people together. When people get together there has to be some external motivation to get them to work together instead of arguing. A lot of times this is simply transactional. What can I get from the other person? Knowledge, friendship, love, a job? The list is endless.
Maybe there is another way. In fact, I would guarantee there is another way. For that we flip to Philippians 2 where I'll leave you with this quote:
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
I think it is something worth keeping in mind!
This week we hear Luke describe the practices of the first Christians after Pentecost in the book of Acts. Peter will tell us that we should expect suffering because Christ suffered and then Jesus talks about sheep, gates, and hearing his voice.
I've also introduced a new opportunity to ask questions. Send me a comment about this or any other video in this series. Comments can be:
1)Left on the YouTube page in the comments section
2) Left in the comments section below.
3) Left on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/FaithKnobNoster
4) Emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope to hear from you!
This week we hear more about how God's people live in light of being chosen as God's people. The Old Testament reading describes a life for the children of Israel that is different than Egypt, where they came from and Canaan, where they are going. Paul continues his letter to the Corinthians talking about building carefully on the foundation that is Christ and instructing them not to put their hope and trust in people and things that are temporary but rather in the one that continues forever. Finally, in our gospel reading Jesus shows us how to live our lives as the salt and light of the world.
Old Testament: Leviticus 19:1--2, 9--18
Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:10--23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:38--48
This week we're hit with some difficult readings assigned to us through the lectionary. In Deuteronomy Moses is giving the Israelites the choice between walking in God's ways and receiving life, or turning toward other gods and facing death. Paul continues to sort out the conflict in the Corinthian church and Jesus takes the commandments and shares their true meaning. When he's done there is no one left who is guiltless. Check it out!
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is Psalm 33:20-22 which reads:
20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
There was a time in history, a time before airplanes and bombs, before computer guided missiles, and chemical warfare, when the shield was a crucial part of a military member’s equipment. Shields could come in different sizes and protected the holder from incoming spears and arrows that came from a distance and from swords and other close range attacks.
The shield was so important because it protected the solider from all of the attacks around him. Without the shield he was vulnerable and easily attacked and could even be killed if he wasn’t careful. These days you will still see soldiers using body armor and other ways to protect him/herself, but the shield is no longer the common way.
In our text today we hear the Psalm writer call God our shield. He says, “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our shield. We know that God has promised to be with his people – that is you and me – always to the end of time. We know that we have nothing to fear with this kind of protection.
But why? Why would the supreme God, the creator of the universe care about you and protecting you? Well the psalmist answers that too when he says, “Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” God’s created all things out of his love and he loved all that he created. This love is what caused him to stay with his people, to be their shield and to promise to send a savior. It is this love that caused Jesus to be born, to suffer, to die, and to rise all for you.
So know, because you have been loved and protected, that you can trust in this promise without fail. Go, and share this hope and love with those around you.
Let us pray:
Dear gracious heavenly Father, thank you for loving us enough to be our shield. Help us to trust your promise to love us and protect us. We ask this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is Romans 12:10-21 which reads:
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The life of a Christian is strange. There is no getting around it. Some people think that you can be a Christian and just live your life however you want to. Unfortunately, that is not true, there is a certain way that Christians live because of their salvation. Fortunately, Paul outlines the Christian life for us in the book of Romans.
You may know that Romans is the longest letter that Paul writes. He writes such a long letter because he hasn’t been to Rome yet and wants to make sure that he and the Christiians in Rome are on the same page about faith and life. In the first chapters he tells us how we are sinner, but how God connects us to Jesus’ death through our baptism.
In our text today we hear how we are to live now that we have been baptized. First Paul says that we should love each other with brotherly love, then we’re supposed to outdo each other in showing honor, we’re supposed to rejoice in the hope that we have while being patient during our troubles. Paul says we’re supposed to bless those who persecute us and we aren’t supposed to repay evil for evil. We are supposed to live peaceably with all people and to overcome evil with good.
Wow! That’s not how the world tells us that we are supposed to live. We’re continuously told that we’re supposed to look out for #1, ourselves. The most important thing in life is that we are happy. This means that we love, care about, and live peaceful lives with others only as long as it makes us happy.
But like I said at the beginning, the life of a Christian is strange. We live this way not because we’re trying to earn our salvation, or prove to God or those around us how good we are. No, we live this way in thanksgiving to God for what he has done for us. The forgiveness that he gives us through Jesus’ death on the cross frees us to love God and our neighbor. John tells us that "by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for showing your love to us through your Son. Help us to live peaceable lives with others , showing your love to our friends and enemies alike. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.