Sermon for April 24, 2016

Sermon for Fifth Sunday of Easter

April 24, 2016, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wallis, Texas

Sermon Text:  John 16:12-22

Sermon Theme:  “Book Sense, Horse Sense, and God Sense”

(Sources:  Concordia Pulpit Resources, Vol. 26, Part 2, Series C; original ideas; Believer’s Commentary; Harper’s Bible Dictionary; Christian jokes online; Lutheran Cyclopedia; Facebook posts)

Grace, mercy and peace to  you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

When you think about it, there are three kinds of sense people can have, — BOOK sense (knowledge), HORSE sense (common sense), and GOD sense (wisdom from God).  And, unfortunately, not everybody has all three, and some people have none of the three – which means, no sense at all.

This is what you’re up against when you try to teach people.  This is what Jesus was up against in teaching the general population, and often, His own disciples as well.

In dealing with people, whether it’s Pharisees, disciples, or curiosity seekers, you can’t help but think it would be nice if they at least had horse sense, that is, common sense.

Some of  you may have seen those delightful posts on facebook recently:

“If common sense was hog lard, most people wouldn’t have enough to grease a pan.”

“Common sense is like a deodorant.  The people who need it the most never use it.”

“Common sense is a flower that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden.”

Now there’s a lot to be said for “BOOK sense,” but book sense without common sense won’t get you very far.

Even more important than that, book sense and horse sense together, without “God sense,” leave a black hole in your life.  As Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

But “God sense” is more than just educating your heart.  It’s more than going to church and getting involved in religious organizations.  After all, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. Continue reading

Sermon for April 17, 2016

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 17, 2016, East Bernard Express, East Bernard, Texas

Sermon Text:  John 10:22-30

Sermon Theme:  “The Good Shepherd Gives Us Our Spiritual Security”

(Sources:  Anderson, Cycle C. Preaching Workbook; Online, good shepherd; online good; original ideas and personal examples; Concordia Pulpit Resources, Volume 26, Part 2, Series C; Brokhoff, Series C, Preaching Workbook; Believer’s Commentary)

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The story is told about a recent seminary graduate who was very proud of his new status as pastor of a big church.  He was giving a kids’ sermonette one day, during which he explained that “pastor” meant “shepherd.”

He also told the children about sheep, pointing out that sheep were not very smart and needed lots of guidance.  He explained that the shepherd’s job was to stay close to the sheep, protect them from wild animals, such as wolves, and keep them from wandering off and doing dumb things that would get them hurt or killed.

So he pointed to the grownups in the church, saying they were the sheep, and then he pointed to the children, saying they were the little lambs and needed lots of supervision and direction.

Then he held out his arms in a gesture of helping someone and asked the children, “If you are the lambs, then who is the shepherd,” obviously indicating himself as the answer.

After a few seconds of silence, a bright little boy spoke out, “Jesus, — Jesus is the shepherd.”

The young pastor, obviously caught by surprise, said to the boy, “Well, then, who am I?”

The little boy frowned thoughtfully and then said with a shrug, “I guess you must be the sheep dog!”

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, and pastors are the under-shepherds.  Jesus saw the people as the sheep in need of a shepherd. Continue reading

Sermon for April 10, 2016

Sermon for the Third Sunday of Easter

April 10, 2016, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wallis, Texas

Sermon Text:  John 21:1-14

Sermon Theme:  “So What Does This Fishing Story Mean?”

(Sources:  Anderson’s, Cycle C, Preaching Workbook; Emphasis Online Illustrations; original ideas; Online Christian Jokes; Online, “What does IXOYE mean?” by Matt Slick)

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

On a beautiful spring morning, I am sure many of you have been tempted to skip church and go fishing, whether succumbing to the temptation or not.

One such beautiful spring morning, ten year old Jody arrived at Sunday School late.  Miss Walker, his teacher, knew that Jody was usually very punctual, so she asked him if anything was wrong.

“No,” he replied, “I was planning to go fishing this morning, but my dad told me that I needed to go to church.”

Miss Walker was very impressed, and asked the boy if his dad had explained to him why it was more important to go to church than go fishing.

“Yes,” Jody replied, “he did.  Dad said that he didn’t have enough bait for both of us.”

In the case of the disciples in our sermon text from John’s gospel, seven of them, — Simon, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two others – weren’t skipping church to fish, and fishing wasn’t their recreation, it was their career prior to following Jesus.  It seems to me that the equivalent of missing church, for them, was going back to their old fishing business rather than continue preaching, teaching, and healing as they had when Jesus was with them.  No doubt, it was both a way of giving up (we can’t carry on without the Master) and a way of releasing some of their fear, tension, and bewilderment, and a human way to normalize their lives.  What comfort they were to each other! Continue reading

Sermon for April 03, 2016

Sermon for Second Sunday of Easter

April 3, 2016, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Wallis, Texas

Sermon Text:  Acts 5:12-20

Sermon Theme:  “The Sunday Following Easter: Feeling Upbeat or the Blues?”

 (Sources: Brokhoff, Series C, Preaching Workbook; “What Do You Do the Day after Easter,”, “Christian Persecution,”; “Persecution Worldwide,”; “Christian Persecution Quick Facts,”; “Holy Humor Sunday,; original ideas; Online Christian Jokes)

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

           It has been said many times by many pastors that on the Sunday following Easter, churches experience the lowest attendance of the Church Year.  Because of what they call “C & E Christians,” that is, Christmas-and-Easter Christians, churches are overflowing on Christmas and Easter, but almost empty on the Sunday after.

Yet, if Easter is real, and the Resurrection is a true fact, church activity should increase rather than decrease, shouldn’t it?

One pastor was very concerned that since there were so many C&E’s in his church, the work of the Lord was not getting done.  So one Easter Sunday, he made a special effort to pull aside each C&E as they shook hands with him, and talk to them about it.

He grabbed the first C&E, a well-educated young man, aside and said to him, “Cal, you need to join the Army of the Lord!”

Cal replied, “I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor.”

‘How come then,” the pastor asked, “I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?”

Cal whispered back, “I’m in the Secret Service.”

The pastor knew Cal would not show up the Sunday after Easter, nor the Sundays after that.  So to cure this C&E syndrome, HOW should a church celebrate the Sunday following Easter?  With a good laugh!, — or, better yet, with a party, a fun party, some pastors believe.  Far from being a strange, new idea, this is actually a long-standing tradition rooted in good Christian theology. Continue reading