Saturday, April 27, 2024

What is Truth?

[Originally published in the Monroe News on April 26, 2024]

The fight for truth has been around for a long time.  It had already become a battle at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry in the 1st century AD.  The Greek and Roman philosophers were already known for raising questions about truth and looking at it with a sense of relativity.. When Jesus told Pontius Pilate He “came to bear witness to the truth (Jn 18:37)” it is no wonder Pilate responded “What is truth?”

The question of truth goes much deeper into history than just the ministry of Jesus.  In fact, it goes all the way back to the very beginning in the garden of Eden.  When the serpent approaches Eve and asks “did God really say?” the fight over truth had just begun.  The world has been challenging truth ever since. The world has been questioning God ever since.  God has remained steadfast and unchanging in revealing His truth ever since.  Jesus came to bear witness to this one truth.  He even said “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice. (Jn 18:37)”  

Saturday, March 30, 2024

The Good Story

[Originally published in the Monroe News on March 29, 2024]

We need a renewal of good story-telling in our society.  So much of the new stories being portrayed have been overly modernized and have lost the values and virtues that we used to hold near and dear.  More and more we are being given stories that blur the lines of good and evil. We get stories that no longer teach or uplift.  We get as many anti-heroes lifted up as we do true heroes.  

What we need is a return to a good story.  And what is a good story?  It is one that brings together our families and communities in ways that help us grow stronger together.  A good story is one that inspires creativity.  A good story invites imagination.  A good story lauds and teaches right values and virtues. A good story should portray good and evil clearly and properly.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

He More Than Get Us

[Originally published in the Monroe News on March 1, 2024]

We all enjoy having relationships in life with someone with whom we could say “he/she gets me.”  We look for people who understand us, who think like us, who enjoy the things we enjoy.  We long for friends and companions.

Author C.S. Lewis in his book “Four Loves” once described the very basics of friendship as being able saying to someone “What? You too? I thought I was the only one…”   We know the little quirks and idiosyncrasies that we each have.  We know the silly interests we hold.  How many parts of our lives do we think that we must be the only person on this earth who does that or who likes that. Until we find another.  A new friend.  Someone who gets us.  

If that phrase “gets us” rings a bell in your ear it is probably because you’ve seen the TV commercials being aired during major sporting events over the last couple years. They give depictions of Jesus and people of this world in various situations seeking to depict the Christian life and its maladies and then the slogan “He gets us” is used to as the overall message.  

Monday, February 5, 2024

The God Who Prays

[This sermon was originally delivered at Grace Lutheran Church on February 4, 2024. The sermon was preached for Epiphany 5, Series B and was on the gospel text, Mark 1:29-39. This sermon delves into the topic of prayer, the example of Jesus in prayer, and touches upon how we can expect God to answer our prayer.]


Brothers and sisters in Christ, grace and peace to you, Amen.

Our Gospel text from Mark 1 this morning is full of several mentions of wonderful miracles.  The healing of Simon’s mother-in-law is a delightful moment and one we’ll spend some time with in a few moments.  But first, we need to set the tone for our Lord’s miracles by setting focus on a different moment in Mark 1, a moment likely overlooked in our reading.

Mark 1:35 “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”  It seems almost mundane, so common.  Jesus goes and prays.  But we shouldn’t just gloss over this moment.  Sure, it is common, and that’s a good thing.  That alone is noteworthy.  It tells us Jesus did this regularly.  It was normal for Jesus to leave His disciples, to go out alone, to a desolate place, and there He would pray to the Father.  Jesus did this regularly because it was important to Him.  It was necessary.  Even as the Son of God in the flesh, Jesus kept this intimate connection and relationship with the Father.  He prayed without ceasing.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Seasons

[Originally published in the Monroe News on January 26, 2024]

Given that winter has found us in full force with days of sub-zero wind chills and even a few inches of snow on the ground it is time to talk about seasons.  Here in Michigan we are well acquainted with the four seasons of weather.  In fact sometimes the joke goes that in Michigan, you might be fortunate enough to see all four in a single day. If you don’t like the weather, just wait, it’ll be different in an hour.

As I write this the wind chill outside is -7 degrees.  Now don’t hate me for this, but I love the seasons.  I even love the winter.  So long as I have the right layers, I don’t even mind the cold.  Its not that I relish difficult things or the challenge of survival.  I just like the differing perspectives the seasons give.  I made the comment the other day, do you know the one nice thing about the temperature being below zero?  It sure makes those 30-degree days suddenly feel warm.  

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