Nov 23 - Christ the King Sunday

  • Christ the King - worship images based around "Worthy is the Lamb" 
    • "Revelation Song" 
    • Worthy is the Lamb 
    • Liturgical images 
    • Christ the Victor 
    • Christ the King 


Oct 26 "Hand-Crafted Discipleship: Blessed are the Beggars”

Oct 26 “Blessed are the Beggars”

Matt 5:1-3; 20:29-34


Crouching Beggar

words written down on a scrap of paper that Luther had in his pocket on his deathbed: “We are beggars; this is true.” 

[Reformation Sunday] 
[Bible presentations Sunday]



Oct 12 "Hand-Crafted Discipleship: Hanging Out w/God”

Oct 12 “Hanging Out w/God”
Relationships grow by investing time 


Psalm 27:8
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek.

Psalm 34:1-10 
I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

 Luke 5:12-16
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

(1) upsetting the equilibrium (i.e., “oops”); 

There is a balance in the life of a disciple between our relationships to other disciples, to the world, and to our God (Discipleship Triangle from 3D Ministries). Too often all, our time starved and fast paced world draws us out of balance and we find our time is given more and more to seeking earthly relationships to the neglecting of our relationship with God. Our spiritual lives end up flowing from ourselves to others rather than from God to us to others. 

(2) analyzing the discrepancy (i.e., “ugh!”); 

We hear an exhortation like Psalm 34 and instead of hearing it as an invitation to restoration in God’s promises and presence we hear it as a burden. Now on top of all the relationships we invest in from day to day we are supposed to seek time with God. Where do we fit it in??? Discouraged we end up in a vicious feedback loop where we pour ourselves more into seeking relational currency from earthly relationships. Our hearts bend in on themselves (Luther) and we seek satisfaction more and more from earthly relationships that too often disappoint. And in the end we find ourselves empty, tired, and lost.

(3) disclosing the clue to the resolution (i.e, “aha!”); 

If you too often feel lost and tired and relationally worn out and your connection with God feels like it gets shoved aside, then do what the leper did and cry out to Jesus because He is the answer for lost people. Jesus does what we struggle with on our own, to live first in relationship to the Father. Notice that after He heals the leper He goes off and reconnects with the Father again. And He doesn’t do this once and a while as if He needed a little bit of the Father to keep going. He often withdraws to lonely places and prays (Luke 5:16). Jesus finds connection with the Father to be essential for His relationships with His disciples and the world. In fact, Jesus’ relationship with the Father is the perfect picture of living the words of Psalm 34, living in the presence and relationship of God the Father.

(4) experiencing the gospel (i.e., “whee!”); and 

But Jesus is not just a perfect picture of how you live in the Father’s presence. If that were it He’d leave us with an unattainable burden to emulate and that would leave us even more lost and worn out. Rather, Jesus first and foremost lives in the Father’s presence and promises because He is the Father’s presence and promise to the world, to you and to me! The one whose life flowed form the Father says to you today, I have come to seek and save the lost. He comes to seek you out, to hear your cry, and to bring you back into the Father’s presence.

(5) anticipating the consequences (i.e, “yeah!”).

With our relationship restored, we get to be in the Father’s presence…we get to! That changes everything. Jesus makes this a new day for us. Reference the words of Psalm 34 that become our words again. And challenge the hearer to make a plan, to carve out time, and intentionally live in God’s presence because Jesus came to seek and find us that we would live fully in the Father’s presence and promises. Paint the picture then, of how that impacts the relationships we have with other disciples and the world, because those relationships flow from our relationship to the Father.


Oct 5 "Hand-Crafted Discipleship: Sharing the Journey”

Oct 5 “Sharing the Journey”

John 1:35-39; 43-50

"Come & see..."  

Traveling with others toward Jesus rather than crossing In/Out boundary lines, REACH OUT

There is “In and Out” of the Kingdom, but we can’t ultimately see it or judge it; our job is the invitation, “Come and see.” 


Sermon Notes for October 5, “Inviting to the Journey.”

Main idea: Jesus overcomes our need to categorize, stereotype, and control people; we are set free to make a personal invitation to the journey of following Jesus.

Primary Text: John 1:35-39; 43-50 
(Jesus and then Philip both issue the invitation: Come and see.)

Secondary texts: 
Ephesians 2:14-15a (The Answer to Our Need to Divide)
14 For [Christ Jesus] himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. 

John 18:36 (The Answer to Our Need to Defend)
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

John 3:17 (The Answer to Our Need to Judge)
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

And/or Romans 3:22b-24  
There is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

Other Resources: Andrew is producing 2 videos. The first shows a series of people deciding which container to put Jesus in. Each container contains a base of different colored beads and a hand-held cross symbolizes Jesus. 

The choice seems obvious at first but gets more and more difficult. The choices are: Christianity or Islam; United States or Middle East; Republican or Democrat; church people or sinful people; and For Me or For Others.

The first video sets up the theme of containers, barriers, and judgment and should be used to open the sermon.

The second video will show one person make the first four decisions, then get to the last one For Me or For Others and reject the choice, bridging the two containers with the cross, and then going back and bridging all of the containers with the cross.

The second video ends with an image of the containers emptied out, all of the labels mingled, and the cross at the center. End the sermon with the second video.

Sermon Outline:

Intro: Video 1 (see above)

As human beings, we have a natural need to categorize. We do it automatically and unconsciously. And sometime we even do it sinfully.

Jesus has sent us out as His people to disciple the nations, and our own naturally tendency to categorize can get in the way. In order for us to fulfill the mission Jesus has given us, Jesus must overcome our need to divide, our need to defend, and our need to judge. Only then can we make the kind of personal invitation to discipleship Jesus intends.

I. Jesus overcomes our need to divide.

A. We have a need to divide. 

It helps us feel like we are in control. We can make sense of our lives by dividing people into categories. While stereotypes may sometime do damage, they allow us to quickly assign people “containers” that we can deal with. Dealing with individuals is time-consuming and messy.

Further examples, story, image, dialogue showing our need to divide.

B. Jesus is the answer to our need to divide.

In the face of this natural tendency to divide people into groups we can manage, Ephesians 2 tells us this: Christ Jesus] himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. 

Jesus knows your need for control, your need to put people in boxes so you know how to think and feel about them. Jesus knows your need to divide, and He takes that division into His own body. Every racial slur, every snap judgment, every stereotype that assumes THOSE people have no interest or need in a savior—Jesus takes all of this dividing into His body on the cross.

Jesus’ broken body heals the natural brokenness of a world divided. Your sin is taken away. And He wont let you use division or difference as an excuse.

II. Jesus overcomes our need to defend.

A. We have a need to defend Jesus.

We love Jesus. We look up to Jesus. We want to be like Jesus. So when someone else from the outside questions Jesus, or makes fun of Him, or even attacks His words or His works, our natural tendency is to defend Jesus.

Show/describe a situation in which we feel a need to defend Jesus. Quote from an atheist, headline of a magazine, or personal dialogue in a setting that fits the hearers.

B. Jesus is the answer to our need to defend.

There was another time in the life of Jesus when it seemed like he needed to be defended. Garden of Gethsemane. “Put away your sword.” Jesus arrested, and then before Pilate: Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

You can let go of your need to defend Jesus. He takes the insults and mocking of the world into His own body on the cross. He opens Himself up to ridicule so that some might come to know His saving love. You don’t have to defend Jesus; that’s not your job. And, defending Jesus, you and I can actually do more harm than good.

III. Jesus overcomes our need to judge.

A. We have an inbred need to pass judgment on others 

Judging others does something amazing to our own ego. We get to evaluate what someone else has done and therefore we get to feel better about ourselves.

If I am feeling guilty about how little work or care I am putting in to my marriage relationship, all I have to do is find a public figure who treats his wife worse and I can pass judgment: at least I am not like that.

Other examples of how judging others helps us feel self-justified. 

To put someone in the container, “Sinner,” or “Agnostic,” or “Muslim,” or “Heathen” allows me to justify my own feelings and actions toward them. Judging others makes me feel better about myself.

B. Jesus is the answer to our need to judge

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Jesus continually refused to judge people that were clearly worthy of being condemned. He refused to put people in a box that said, “Not Worth Caring.”
The woman caught in adultery.

A tax collector.

A terrorist.

Jesus refused to label these people “Outside of God’s Grace.”

So also with you. Even thought you naturally pass all kinds of judgment on others, even though you and I are often ready and willing to condemn a whole category of people, Jesus has never labeled you, “Lost Cause.”

Again and again, and again today, Jesus takes you out of the safety of your own container, tears down the barriers you erect for your own protection, undoes the judgment that helps you feel self-justified, and confronts you with His cross.

In His cross al of your sins are forgiven. In His cross, the sins of the whole world are forgiven. Romans 3:22b-24  There is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

At the same moment Jesus forgives all of your sins, He also removes all basis for your to condemn others, put them in containers and label them “Not Worth the Effort.”

In His body on the cross Jesus overcomes our need to divide, our need to defend, and our need to judge.

IV. Jesus send us out with the personal invitation: Come and See.

We are left with no basis to divide, no need to defend, no heart to judge. And then we are ready to enter into the adventure Jesus has for us.

When you imagine speaking about Jesus to other people in your life, that can be scary. Especially if you think you have to put up barriers that defend Jesus or the Chruch. Speaking to others about Jesus can be hard when you are judging there sinful actions in your heart.

But Jesus sets you free from our need to divide, defend, and judge. And He gives you a simple invitation.

When Philip told Nathaniel about Jesus, Nathaniel thought he was crazy. But Philip didn’t put Nathanial in a container labeled “Unbeliever.” Philip didn’t try and defend Jesus from Nathanial’s rather ruthless personal attack. Philip did not condemn Nathanial’s lack of faith or sinful words.

What did Philip do? He simply told Nathanial, “Come and see.” It was the same words Jesus used to invite Peter and John to find out more. It’s the words that still work to defuse arguments and remove barriers.

The next time your atheist friend says religion is for babies and weaklings, don’t divide, don’t defend, don’t just. Use some version of “Come and see.” Would you be willing to help me think through what Jesus means by this …?

Invitation to worship, sure; invitation to a bible class, great; invitation to a picnic or a basketball game or a sports camp, wonderful.

But mostly, invitation to a journey. Will you walk with me a little ways as I try to know Jesus better?

It gets messy. It takes time. But it’s the way of Jesus.

No dividing, no defending, no judging; just the personal invitation to a journey, Come and See.

Play Video 2.


Mid-Sep / Oct 2014 - "Hand-Crafted Discipleship"

Discipleship Series St. Luke Lutheran Church Multi-Site, Fall 2014

Formation Goal: To shape disciples who are aware of their passive and active roles in discipleship; actively receiving, engaged but not in control, seeking and being found, intentional reception of God’s promised gifts.