Oct 04 thru Nov 15 - "Life on the Rope"

Discipleship series

Life on the Rope Oct. 04 
Life on the Rope Oct. 11 
Life on the Rope Oct. 18 
Life on the Rope Oct. 25 (Reformation Sunday)  
Life on the Rope Nov. 01 (All Saints' Day) 
Life on the Rope Nov. 08 
Life on the Rope Nov. 15 


Sep 06 - Sep 27 "James"

James: Look back to move forward
Sept. 6 Faith without works is dead
Is. 35:4–7a
James 2: 14–18
Mark 7:(24–30) 31–37

James: Reach In
Sept. 13 Taming the tongue
Is. 50:4–10
James 3:1–12
Mark 9:14–29

James: Reach Up
Sept. 20 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you
Jer. 11:18–20
James 4:1-10
Mark 9:30–37

James: Reach Out
Sept. 27 Prayer and the wanderer
Num. 11:4–6, 10–16, 24–29
James 5:13–20
Mark 9:38–50


Jul 26 thru Aug 30 - "Elijah"

Elijah 1 - July 26 
Elijah fed by ravens
 1 Kings 16:29-17:7

Elijah 2 - Aug. 2 
Widow of Zarapheth
 1 Kings 17:8-24

Elijah 3 - Aug 09
Elijah vs. Prophets of Baal
 1 Kings 18:17-40

Elijah 4  - Aug. 16  
Elijah flees Jezebel
 1 Kings 19:1–8

Elijah 5 - Aug. 23 
The still, small voice
 1 Kings 19:9-18

Elijah 6 - Aug. 30 
Fiery chariot
 2 Kings 2 


Jun 21 thru July 19 - "Scenic Overview"

Jun 21 - The Coastal Plain 
Jun 28 - The Mountains 
Jul 05 - The Harbor 
Jul 12 - The Wilderness 
Jul 19 - The Oasis 


Jun 14 - "Moving the Needle" ['Vision' something]

Reach OUT
Missional Living (Matthew 28:18)
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 

Generous Giving (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 


Jun 07 - "Moving the Needle" ['Vision' something]

Reach IN
Trusting Relationships (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 

Joyful Service (Ephesians 4:11-12)

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up… 


May 31 - "Moving the Needle" ['Vision' something (also Trinity)]

Reach UP
Weekly Worship (Acts 2:42)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 

Daily Word (Colossians 3:16)

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 


May 24 - Pentecost (a stand alone)

Date: May 24, 2015- Pentecost

Title: In the Wind

Ezekiel 37:1-14; Acts 2:1-14; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

Text: Acts 2:12 – “Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, 
                            ‘What does this mean?’”

That the hearer be
made aware of and then be made sure of the power of the wind (breath in Ezekiel) of God to effect change in their lives.

Textual Exposition:
See David Carr, Pages 152-154, Homiletical Helps, Concordia Journal, Spring 2013  available on line.

Note especially Paragraph 8 occurring on page 153.  The paragraph begins this way: 
“This text may be awkward for Lutheran preachers.  There is no ‘law,’ in our usual manner of speaking.  Neither is there ‘gospel,’ if we insist on the particular language of the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and the atoning sacrifice and active obedience of Christ.”

Theological Reflection: 
I was led to consider the “attention getting” devises of wind and fire, used by God, to gather the crowd.  Carr (see above) also draws our early attention to the wind and fire in his exposition. And while, generally speaking, we often focus on or hear about the similitude of fire, I thought it would be worthy to explore the “wind”, especially in light of the “breath” (wind) of our life giving God that was a portion of Ezekiel vision in the OT lesson.

I was also struck by the great Lutheran catechesis question “What does this mean?”
Answering that question, especially as it relates to “the sound of a mighty, rushing wind” forms the basis for the sermon. (Question Answered structure. I believe Frame and Refrain structure would also work well).

Hearer Depiction: 
Is God at work in my life?  What do I look for when the “wind” of God blows across my life.  What is Jesus speaking into my life today.

Sermon Please find below the initial framing out of a manuscript.
A good teacher knows that an important part of getting the message across is to use what used to be known as “Visual Aids.”

Back in the day, this consisted of filmstrips, charts, and graphs.  Then along came puppets and drama and role-playing, with a dash of instructional gaming.

Now we have advanced to Smart Boards and video clips and Power Point Presentations and Interactive Websites.

Even though the medium has changed, the concept is the same – a learner often connects better when a visual object is associated with the message.

God is a great teacher.  And so we are not surprised that He often provides visual Aids, object lessons, to help us in of learning of Him – to communicate meaning, to reveal His will, to show His nature, to Point to His Plan, to teach us about our new life in the resurrected Christ.

Using objects and symbols, God wants us to get the message.  He wants us to understand “What does this mean?”

The OT – Ezekiel’s “dry bones” and other examples. 

So we are not surprised that on one of God’s greatest days, Pentecost – the Day of the Birth of His Church – that Vibrant Visuals, Illustrative Images abound.

We often focus on two of the three images that God used.  Most often we turn our attentions to the tongues of flame that appeared and rested on the Apostles, 
Or maybe the fact that these unsophisticated men spoke in the tongues of foreign languages that they did not know.

But there is one other image that often slips by us.  This special outpouring of the Holy Spirit was accompanied by the sound of a mighty wind.  A mighty, noisy, roaring, rushing wind.

Today we ask, “What does this mean?”
Why did God the Holy Spirit announce His coming with a mighty wind?
What are some of the implications of that specific event?

Well, let’s begin with what we know.
(Examples of wind being a precursor of change - Spring rains, Fall hurricanes in the south, the rising wind before a thunderstorm, etc.)
So on Pentecost, the wind of change blew across those gathered.

What happens when the winds of God blow across a person’s life?
What does this mean?

First of all, when God’s wind blows, the mediocre becomes magnificent.

Recall all the times Jesus taught His disciples when they just didn’t get it.

Reading the gospels, we wonder why Jesus chose such men in the first place.
 Jesus spoke of humility and service and the disciples fought for positions of power.
(Use a few more examples)

They were caught in the mediocrity of misunderstanding and mis-interpretation.  
All of this changed though, once the Holy Spirit descended upon the believers.

Peter and the others were transformed into courageous advocates of their faith.

Peter, the leader of the disciples, who just a few weeks before had denied Christ, had been afraid to proclaim his faith, had been hiding behind closed doors, is transformed into an outspoken proponent of Christ.

The winds of change swirled around Peter, and he boldly answers the misinformed and the misled critics who had gathered.

He preaches a mighty, Spirit filled sermon, boldly proclaiming Jesus as the Savior of the world.

A mediocre life had become magnificent.

He had always been their leader, but now with direction.
The wind blowing him where God wanted him to go.

Peter had always been outspoken, but now empowered by the Holy Spirit, he spoke with eloquence rather than with his usual “foot in mouth” tendency.

He was still bold, but now with understanding.
That is what happens when the wind of God blows.  He takes that which He has already given, and empowers it for His purpose.
What happens when the wind of God blows across our lives?  

First and foremost, God works faith in our life, and we are fundamentally changed. 
Children of Darkness become Children of the Light.  The Lost become Found. 
The hopeless dry bones come to life.  

And then the Holy Spirit, working through the means of grace, keeps us in the faith and strengthens us as we grow in faith.

So that just like with the Apostle Peter, God the Holy Spirit can help us to defeat those negative traits that we all possess and empower those positive treats so that we too can be used by Him.

What happens when the Wind of God rises?
Relying on the Holy Spirit, life would be transformed and so would our church.
The mediocre can become magnificent.

When the wind of God blows, when the wind of change blows, what does this mean?

It also means that that which was dead can come alive!

(the desert after an early spring (the winds rose) rain blossoms with great beauty)

That is also what happens when the wind of God’s Spirit blows across our lives.  
The wind of God comes to refresh us, empower us and transform us.

“What does this mean”  - When the wind of God blows – He is there to give us His power, Power to make the mediocre magnificent.  Power to make that which is dead – alive.