Sermons

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    March 19, 2017.  This sermon focused on the human impulse inside us to tell single stories about other people, especially people who are different than us. But every human being is more  complex, more beautiful, more capable of change and transformation than a single story would ever tell. Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well shows... [read more]
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    March 12, 2017.  So we all know that we need and hunger for community; we can’t do this on our own. What holds us back? If we’re perfectly honest, all of us have been burned by community in one way or another. All communities are made up of flawed individuals, and sooner or later they fail us. We are like Nicodemus in this week’s Gospel: we have fa... [read more]
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    March 5, 2017. This is the first sermon in our Lenten series, “Called to Community.” This sermon explores the fears and desires that tempt us to stay on the fringes of community along with the call from Jesus in our baptism that draws us into community. We all share the call from Christ to be church to each other, for the church is not a building w... [read more]
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    February 26, 2017. With the dramatic transfiguration of Jesus on top of the mountain, it is easy to miss the important words that are said. First, “Listen to him.” As our days get busier and often more confusing, it is more important than ever that we take time to listen to Jesus. Second, "Get up" is actually more like, “Be resurrected.” Even today... [read more]
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    February 19, 2017. In the last part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He piles on seemingly more impossible instructions: “Love your enemies” and “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This sermon explores both of these commands and reminds us that God’s ways are foolish. Because of that, they have within them the power to change us and th... [read more]
  • February 12, 2017. Jesus’ difficult interpretations of the commandments about murder, divorce, and adultery make us all aware of our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. They also call us to pay attention to our interior lives—to the part of us that no one can see, yet the part of us that has incredible influence on how we act, speak, live, and lo... [read more]
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    February 5, 2017. Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others.”  And many people today are letting that light shine through protesting.  The challenge is that we all won’t agree on exactly what light looks like.  We may have strong opinions about certain issues, but people we know and love may feel very differently.  Don’t underestimate the imp... [read more]
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    January 29, 2017. In Jesus’ first teaching in Matthew, he offers what we know as The Beatitudes.  In other words, the first thing out of Jesus’ mouth is blessing.  Statements like “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” are surprising because we often confuse happiness with being blessed and sadness with mourning.  Jesus is going ... [read more]
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    January 22, 2017. This sermon explores a few of the obstacles that get in the way of us claiming the call God’s given us, and then offers some other ways to think about “call” that can help us claim it and live it more robustly. You have a call, whether you believe it or not!   Click HERE if you would like to stream this sermon on your m... [read more]
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    January 15, 2017. Jesus' first words in John’s Gospel ask a question, “What are you looking for?”  As we begin another year of ministry and mission, I think we at Bethlehem can answer that question: We are looking for community, silence in a world of noise, relationship in an isolating culture, a chance to serve in a world that encourages us to put... [read more]
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    January 8, 2017. The story of the Three Wise Men remind us of the cosmic battle between light and darkness; between good and evil. The wise men chose to follow the light and it led them to Christ. Their encounter with Jesus changed their lives. Today we also must choose what we will follow, light or darkness. When we follow Jesus, the Light of the ... [read more]
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    January 1, 2017.  Just days after we gather on the holy days of Christmas Eve and Day to hear the Christmas story and rekindle our hope, we wrestle with this story in the gospel of Matthew that forces us to look in the face the presence and power of evil in our world. This awful story of the slaughtering of the innocents opens our eyes to the place... [read more]
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    December 24, 2016. The gospel writers, as well as we ourselves, spend a lot of time trying to cover up the gaps, trying to polish up the rough parts of our life stories and smooth over the details that are vulnerable and unrefined. But paying attention to one of the gaps in Luke's Christmas narrative points us to the saving power of the Christmas e... [read more]
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    December 11, 2016.  We’re always managing expectations—some placed upon us by others and many that we place upon ourselves—but it’s especially difficult to navigate expectations this time of year. In this sermon, we explore a time in John the Baptist’s life when he’s trying to deal with dashed expectations and a shattered faith. John’s story helps ... [read more]
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    December 4, 2016. Sometimes we associate the word “repentance” with saying you’re sorry.  Or better, that you’re really, really sorry and will never do it —whatever it is—again.  But repentance really means realizing that we are out of step with God’s dream for us and for our world, and turning around and taking another road.  That’s the hope of Ad... [read more]
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    November 27, 2016.  We begin our Advent Series, And on Earth…Peace, by hearing the dream of Isaiah that one day all tools of war will be transformed into instruments of peace.  While most of us don’t march at the head of armies, we do possess tools that wound, particularly our words.  What if we declared our church a “disarmament zone”? Then we cou... [read more]
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    November 20, 2016. Because Jesus is the kind of king who stands with the most vulnerable, he makes the call of the faithful pretty clear: to acknowledge our humanness, be a voice for the voiceless, and stand in solidarity with the weak and marginalized. The ministry of caregiving is a place where this love is profoundly at work, and often unseen. T... [read more]
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    November 13, 2016. Download/print this sermon: Nov13-BldgCommunity    
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    November 6, 2016.  Jesus’ blessing of the seemingly most un-blessed kinds of people and circumstances gives us a new way to think about blessing. It also points us to a God who doesn’t hold back from blessing every hidden, difficult, and hurting corner of our world. Download/print this sermon: Nov6-BlessingsAbundant
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    October 30, 2016. We take the celebration of Reformation Day as a reminder that we are always being called back to the “basics” of our Lutheran heritage.  As Martin Luther reminded the world, we are not forgiven or saved by what we do, but "because, because, because, because, because" of who God is—a God whose doesn’t keep score and doesn’t hold a ... [read more]
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Bethlehem Lutheran Church