About Sermons

“God’s WORD has the power to convert people unless hindered by those who bring the word… The pulpit is not a place for a man to put his learning on parade, but where God’s WORD should be preached simply, and yet, powerfully.” 1

This comment on the art of preaching, made by Philipp Jakob Spener, first appeared in the 1675 publication of his classic work Pia Desideria. Decades ago when I attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, I copied Spener’s word into a small notebook. That notebook has been on my desk ever since. Spener’s words have served as a constant reminder to me that whenever a preacher steps into the pulpit a great responsibility rests on their shoulders. A good preacher strives to translate the Word of God to God’s people in a way that is easily understood, promotes faith, and inspires action. A good sermon invites people into a fresh experience of God and encourages them to live a vigorous Christian life. Faithful preachers know that whatever else we do, we had better not get in the way of God’s Word Of Life!

There has always been a need for sermons that help worshippers connect their lives with God’s Word. That is why the sermon has long been at the core of Lutheran worship. But in today’s multisensory, multimedia, multicultural, and secularly oriented world that need is even greater. Listening to or reading a sermon gives us an opportunity for respite from a world that moves at what increasingly feels like the speed of light. Sermons allow us to converse with God and to reflect on the wonders of his world on his terms and in his time. I believe that a listener or reader with an open mind and heart will find that a sermon is not just a “religious” experience. They will find that hearing or reading a sermon is also very much a “spiritual” experience.

It is my hope and prayer that as you listen to and/or read the sermons found here, you will hear God’s Holy Word and feel his sacred embrace. It is my hope that these sermons will be, for you, an experience of God in your world.

*Sunday’s sermon should be posted by the following Tuesday at noon.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Amy

1: Philipp Jakob Spener, Pia Desideria, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press).

Four Minutes…

Four minutes … all it took was four minutes for the lives of seventeen people to be taken; the lives of seventeen families to be devastated; and the sense of safety and security for students, teachers, administrators, friends, siblings, parents and entire communities all around this country to be shattered once again … four minutes. […]

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Sharing God’s Love

People sometimes refer to the church building as God’s house and to members of the congregation as the family of God. Jews understood the temple in Jerusalem in much the same way. Despite God’s protests that God never asked anyone to build a “house of cedar” the temple became the center of their religious practice. […]

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Ashes are just Garlands in the Making

My Disclaimer for preaching this morning begins with the fact that we’ve already met up with John the Baptist this Advent Season. So, I’m not going to reference the reading from John much today. I will say at the outset though that there is one particular point of intersection between the Gospel and the lesson. […]

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Tearing Down Walls

What are we to make of this parable that has become the darling of all year-end stewardship campaigns? Is it really about investing our time, talents and wealth boldly in the Kingdom of God so we don’t find ourselves in an overheated oven for all eternity? Theologian and author Robert Farrar Capon  does include today’s […]

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The Tale of Two Churches

In today’s readings neither Paul nor Matthew shy away from strong  emotions and conflict. Writing from prison, Paul calls the church he planted in Philippi, Macedonia his “joy and crown.” But, as we read on we clearly sense that something in the Philippian worshipping community causes him irritation and perhaps pain as well. Likewise, Jesus’ […]

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Scandalous Grace

There’s a good reason why the religious elite of Jesus day regarded his teachings as scandalous. Their teachings had lost the spirit of freedom in the knowledge of God’s steadfast love. Shackles of pietistic observances and a raft of religious rules replaced the kind of delight in the way of the Lord that King David […]

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We are Lifeguards

It was the fourth watch of the night …the time between 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock in the morning according to the Roman and Israelite … the time when we lift our heads up off the comfy pillow, look at the clock, and decide to sleep for another two hours…

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Giving Yourself Away

Growing up as the only Jewish boy in Sheridan, Wyoming presented its own set of unique consequences for Max Wachtel. One of them was learning how to keep a low profile in the schoolyard. As you can well imagine Max experienced his share of uncomfortable moments in the classroom, but the playground was even worse. […]

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When We are Sent

Prayer is a dangerous thing… I find it a bit humorous, or at least ironic, that the disciples prayed for workers to be sent into the harvest fields only to find out that they were praying for themselves and didn’t know it. They were the ones Jesus wanted to send. Sometimes the answer to our […]

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