May 13, 2018
Romans and Christians
Series: (All)
May 13, 2018. How do we as Christians live in a society that is so politicized? That is so anxious? That is so materialistic? That tells us again and again that we should look out for ourselves first? How do we live out our lives as children of God? How do we live in the world and for the world without being of the world? Pastor Penny takes on these questions today and offers some thoughts. Jesus gives us all we need.
 
*** Transcript ***
 
We begin this morning in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
 
As some of the people in the congregation know from their own experience, one game that is played at Confirmation Camp, probably every year, is called Romans and Christians. In this game the counselors, and many other adults that happen to be around, make makeshift togas out of bed sheets and they have spears that are cardboard with foil wrapped around, and then they wander around a very large area in this large camp looking for Christians.
 
If they find Christians then they take them to jail or prison -- a special building on the grounds. They are re-enacting the persecution that the early church suffered at the hands of Rome. The Christians, of course, are the campers. So their first goal is to avoid the Romans, and avoid them long enough, to find the underground church, which will be hidden in some Grove of trees somewhere with a candle that's lit. Once they find that area, they're safe from the Romans.
 
But safety isn't the only goal of the Christians. Once they get to the underground church where they're safe, then they are encouraged to think about those other Christians wandering out there who haven't found the church and are still in danger, and to willingly leave the safety of the church and go out and bring them in.
 
There's still a higher goal for these campers as Christians, and that is to consider that once they are in the safety of the church, they might leave it. Not for the other Christians, but to willingly interact with the Romans and possibly, in conversation, convince the Romans to become Christian, and then they would all go to the safety of the church.
 
And you know, even today churches do have a sense of an aura of safety about them. I think this church in particular, with its big stone walls. We feel that we are leaving day-to-day life for maybe a more sacred, safer place than arched doorways, and the stained glass windows all remind us of that. And of course that's good. You know, we need to on a regular basis extract ourselves from the everyday concerns and spend time here together, hearing the word, praying, receiving Holy Communion, and being sent out as those campers were with the faith into the world.
 
Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Minneapolis had a fire a number of years ago. It's a church that's bigger than ours, but similar, with stained glass windows. When they rebuilt or remodeled, the stained glass windows had been destroyed. And rather than replacing them with new stained glass windows, they replaced them with plate glass, clear glass. So the front of the church is a clear window. And so while they are hearing the word and singing and coming up and receiving communion, they are seeing city buses drive by and people walking their dogs and people biking by and homeless people. So they are always aware that they're being nurtured to be sent out to bring that love to the world.
 
Well, it occurred to me that the game of Romans and Christians would be quite different if the Romans didn't wear costumes. Because you wouldn't know who was who then, at least not from a distance. You wouldn't know where the Christians were, who the Romans were, and Christians would be very tempted to just blend in with the Romans for safety's sake.
 
And I think that is our challenge today. Just on the radio this morning, I did hear of Christians being killed in other parts of the world, but in general we are not being persecuted the way the Romans for 300 years persecuted Christians in the early church. We are not taken to jails. We are not forced to fight gladiators and lions. And that is exactly the problem for us because we are in a position to be tempted to blend in.
 
You don't really know who's a Christian or isn't a Christian in this world. Unless you're a priest and you wear your clerical to the grocery store as some pastors do, you don't know. And so this world, rather than persecuting us, is much more likely to ignore us and leave us alone. We can blend in. But that's the problem. There is a greater danger in blending in than in being persecuted physically, because while we won't lose our physical lives, we can lose something even more precious: our identity, our soul.
 
It is very easy to blend in with the values of our society. To not say anything. For instance, when a friend makes a racial slur. Or to join with the media when they demonize one political party or the other. It's so tempting to feel inferior around people who are attractive, gifted, and successful by the standards of our society
 
And I think it's very easy for us to feel anxious for ourselves or a family member if they don't get into the right class. If they don't get into the right team. If they don't get the right career that would ensure their future happiness. As if God doesn't have promises of happiness and joy for us in our futures.
 
The writer of the Gospel of John really thought the world was dangerous. While you read in John that God loved the world, John also says the world is enslaved by the evil one. And that is exactly our challenge. How do we as Christians live in a society that is so politicized? That is so anxious? That is so materialistic? That tells us again and again that we should look out for ourselves first? How do we live out our lives as children of God? How do we live in the world and for the world without being of the world?
 
Well, that's why we have the gospel that we have today, because Jesus says I will help you. And the first way Jesus promises to help is to give us a name. A name that sets us apart and a name that protects us. His name: Christian. We get that name when we are christened and baptized, and in baptism a seed is planted. We are given Jesus' identity. We are given his value. We are given his power. And that seed has DNA in it that, all through our lives, as we water it and nurture it spiritually, we grow and flower and are able to live out our identity as Christians, even in this world. So Jesus gives us the name.
 
The other thing Jesus gives us is, he makes us one. He gives us Christian Community. The Presbyterian USA church is having their biennial convention in St. Louis this summer, and they expect there'll be about 5,000 people attending. So they've told the Presbyterian churches in our area: we want you to be prepared to host on Sunday morning some of these attendees.
 
Well, one church is small, predominantly white, and they were a little apprehensive. How will our guests feel? Will they be disappointed if they outnumber us in worship, we're so small? So they looked to a neighboring church, which happened to be predominantly African American, and said let's co-host. But then it became clear that if they were going to both work together to be inviting people, they needed to know one another. So they have set up a number of events this spring to become one community.
 
God has strange ways of making us into one community. And it's not just that there's strength in numbers. It's that when we are in community -- especially with Christians who don't always see things the way we do, especially with people who come from a different background -- we grow. We grow in our strength. We grow in our ability to maintain our Christian identity.
 
So Jesus gives us a name and he gives us community. And the last thing we see in the gospel today is that he holds up the power of prayer. Now, you may have recognized the fact that the whole gospel today is a prayer. Jesus is praying to his Heavenly Father for the disciples, who are listening in. And if you've ever been in that situation where someone prays for you, sometimes even you didn't expect it and there you are hearing them pray for you. It's a very uplifting experience. So I want to read a few verses that come right after our gospel lesson. Toward the end of Jesus' prayer he says to the Heavenly Father, "I ask not only on behalf of these," his disciples, "but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word that they may be won." And then he explains this a little later on when he says, "I in them and you and me, Father, that they may become completely one so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
 
In the gospel today, Jesus is not only praying for the disciples. He is praying for us. And we know from Romans 8 that he continues to pray for us and be our advocate at the throne of God throughout our lives.
 
It is not easy to live out our values as Christians in our society, but we have nothing less than the power of God through the prayer of Christ to protect us and to empower us to carry this love out into the world.
 
Amen
 
*** Keywords ***
 
2018, Christ Lutheran Church, Webster Groves, sermon, podcast, Pastor Penny Holste, transcript
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  • May 13, 2018Romans and Christians
    May 13, 2018
    Romans and Christians
    Series: (All)
    May 13, 2018. How do we as Christians live in a society that is so politicized? That is so anxious? That is so materialistic? That tells us again and again that we should look out for ourselves first? How do we live out our lives as children of God? How do we live in the world and for the world without being of the world? Pastor Penny takes on these questions today and offers some thoughts. Jesus gives us all we need.
     
    *** Transcript ***
     
    We begin this morning in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
     
    As some of the people in the congregation know from their own experience, one game that is played at Confirmation Camp, probably every year, is called Romans and Christians. In this game the counselors, and many other adults that happen to be around, make makeshift togas out of bed sheets and they have spears that are cardboard with foil wrapped around, and then they wander around a very large area in this large camp looking for Christians.
     
    If they find Christians then they take them to jail or prison -- a special building on the grounds. They are re-enacting the persecution that the early church suffered at the hands of Rome. The Christians, of course, are the campers. So their first goal is to avoid the Romans, and avoid them long enough, to find the underground church, which will be hidden in some Grove of trees somewhere with a candle that's lit. Once they find that area, they're safe from the Romans.
     
    But safety isn't the only goal of the Christians. Once they get to the underground church where they're safe, then they are encouraged to think about those other Christians wandering out there who haven't found the church and are still in danger, and to willingly leave the safety of the church and go out and bring them in.
     
    There's still a higher goal for these campers as Christians, and that is to consider that once they are in the safety of the church, they might leave it. Not for the other Christians, but to willingly interact with the Romans and possibly, in conversation, convince the Romans to become Christian, and then they would all go to the safety of the church.
     
    And you know, even today churches do have a sense of an aura of safety about them. I think this church in particular, with its big stone walls. We feel that we are leaving day-to-day life for maybe a more sacred, safer place than arched doorways, and the stained glass windows all remind us of that. And of course that's good. You know, we need to on a regular basis extract ourselves from the everyday concerns and spend time here together, hearing the word, praying, receiving Holy Communion, and being sent out as those campers were with the faith into the world.
     
    Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Minneapolis had a fire a number of years ago. It's a church that's bigger than ours, but similar, with stained glass windows. When they rebuilt or remodeled, the stained glass windows had been destroyed. And rather than replacing them with new stained glass windows, they replaced them with plate glass, clear glass. So the front of the church is a clear window. And so while they are hearing the word and singing and coming up and receiving communion, they are seeing city buses drive by and people walking their dogs and people biking by and homeless people. So they are always aware that they're being nurtured to be sent out to bring that love to the world.
     
    Well, it occurred to me that the game of Romans and Christians would be quite different if the Romans didn't wear costumes. Because you wouldn't know who was who then, at least not from a distance. You wouldn't know where the Christians were, who the Romans were, and Christians would be very tempted to just blend in with the Romans for safety's sake.
     
    And I think that is our challenge today. Just on the radio this morning, I did hear of Christians being killed in other parts of the world, but in general we are not being persecuted the way the Romans for 300 years persecuted Christians in the early church. We are not taken to jails. We are not forced to fight gladiators and lions. And that is exactly the problem for us because we are in a position to be tempted to blend in.
     
    You don't really know who's a Christian or isn't a Christian in this world. Unless you're a priest and you wear your clerical to the grocery store as some pastors do, you don't know. And so this world, rather than persecuting us, is much more likely to ignore us and leave us alone. We can blend in. But that's the problem. There is a greater danger in blending in than in being persecuted physically, because while we won't lose our physical lives, we can lose something even more precious: our identity, our soul.
     
    It is very easy to blend in with the values of our society. To not say anything. For instance, when a friend makes a racial slur. Or to join with the media when they demonize one political party or the other. It's so tempting to feel inferior around people who are attractive, gifted, and successful by the standards of our society
     
    And I think it's very easy for us to feel anxious for ourselves or a family member if they don't get into the right class. If they don't get into the right team. If they don't get the right career that would ensure their future happiness. As if God doesn't have promises of happiness and joy for us in our futures.
     
    The writer of the Gospel of John really thought the world was dangerous. While you read in John that God loved the world, John also says the world is enslaved by the evil one. And that is exactly our challenge. How do we as Christians live in a society that is so politicized? That is so anxious? That is so materialistic? That tells us again and again that we should look out for ourselves first? How do we live out our lives as children of God? How do we live in the world and for the world without being of the world?
     
    Well, that's why we have the gospel that we have today, because Jesus says I will help you. And the first way Jesus promises to help is to give us a name. A name that sets us apart and a name that protects us. His name: Christian. We get that name when we are christened and baptized, and in baptism a seed is planted. We are given Jesus' identity. We are given his value. We are given his power. And that seed has DNA in it that, all through our lives, as we water it and nurture it spiritually, we grow and flower and are able to live out our identity as Christians, even in this world. So Jesus gives us the name.
     
    The other thing Jesus gives us is, he makes us one. He gives us Christian Community. The Presbyterian USA church is having their biennial convention in St. Louis this summer, and they expect there'll be about 5,000 people attending. So they've told the Presbyterian churches in our area: we want you to be prepared to host on Sunday morning some of these attendees.
     
    Well, one church is small, predominantly white, and they were a little apprehensive. How will our guests feel? Will they be disappointed if they outnumber us in worship, we're so small? So they looked to a neighboring church, which happened to be predominantly African American, and said let's co-host. But then it became clear that if they were going to both work together to be inviting people, they needed to know one another. So they have set up a number of events this spring to become one community.
     
    God has strange ways of making us into one community. And it's not just that there's strength in numbers. It's that when we are in community -- especially with Christians who don't always see things the way we do, especially with people who come from a different background -- we grow. We grow in our strength. We grow in our ability to maintain our Christian identity.
     
    So Jesus gives us a name and he gives us community. And the last thing we see in the gospel today is that he holds up the power of prayer. Now, you may have recognized the fact that the whole gospel today is a prayer. Jesus is praying to his Heavenly Father for the disciples, who are listening in. And if you've ever been in that situation where someone prays for you, sometimes even you didn't expect it and there you are hearing them pray for you. It's a very uplifting experience. So I want to read a few verses that come right after our gospel lesson. Toward the end of Jesus' prayer he says to the Heavenly Father, "I ask not only on behalf of these," his disciples, "but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word that they may be won." And then he explains this a little later on when he says, "I in them and you and me, Father, that they may become completely one so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
     
    In the gospel today, Jesus is not only praying for the disciples. He is praying for us. And we know from Romans 8 that he continues to pray for us and be our advocate at the throne of God throughout our lives.
     
    It is not easy to live out our values as Christians in our society, but we have nothing less than the power of God through the prayer of Christ to protect us and to empower us to carry this love out into the world.
     
    Amen
     
    *** Keywords ***
     
    2018, Christ Lutheran Church, Webster Groves, sermon, podcast, Pastor Penny Holste, transcript
  • May 6, 2018Pep Talk
    May 6, 2018
    Pep Talk
    Series: (All)
    May 6, 2018. Pastor Penny tells us today that Jesus has chosen us. When he told his followers that he would be leaving them and asked them to carry on his work, they were devastated and scared. But he reminded them and he reminds us that he chose us, and he loves us, and that carrying on his work will bring us joy.
     
    *** Transcript ***
     
    We begin in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
     
    It's halftime. The team is losing and their morale is very low. So the coach gathers them all around him. And he looks carefully at them in the face, each one of them, and he gives them a pep talk. Now, have any of you ever had a halftime pep talk from your coach when you were involved in sports? I don't see any heads nodding. Oh there is. All right. Did it work? Yes, it worked. Okay. Well, I'm glad I worked because that's exactly what's happening in the gospel this morning.
     
    The followers of Jesus for three years have been with him, and when they first encountered Jesus they were probably drawn to him because he was very charismatic. He was popular, but he was a miracle worker. And not only that, but when they met him he looked at them in the eye and said, "I choose you to follow me." Now, they might have been drawn to him because of his charisma, but they stayed with him because of his love, because of the friendship that developed over those three years as they walked from town to town, as they sometimes had to sleep out under the stars, sit around campfire at night. They could see his love for them. He listened to them and he shared his dream -- his dream that people would begin to care about each other, that there would be no more hatred. And that love they had for him, that friendship also grew into admiration as they watched and saw how he was always willing to help, even when it cost him. When his feet were sore from walking or his stomach was very hungry and he'd rather eat. Or when he was so tired he could hardly keep his eyes open. If someone came and needed to be healed, he did it. He was there.
     
    So after these three years of this love and admiration and friendship, all of a sudden there is this blow to them, to these followers, because Jesus says, 'I am leaving you, and where I go you cannot follow this time. And I want you to carry on my work."
     
    Well, they were devastated like Jimmy in the puppet show. They were devastated. They were heartbroken to lose Jesus. And not only that but they were afraid -- afraid to lose their leader. And then they weren't at all sure that they had the ability to carry on his work. And it's been two thousand years, but I think we probably can understand that feeling that they had. We have it at times in big ways and small. Our hearts are broken, when we lose someone we love or when we are afraid for our own health. Our hearts get broken when we see our children make decisions that we know will hurt them. Our hearts are broken when we see people in the inner city, innocent people living in a trap of violence with no way to get out. Our hearts are broken and we are scared too at times, sometimes with distinct fears. Sometimes just a general sense of anxiety about what's coming next.
     
    And I think we also do share times when we're not sure we're ready for what's coming next. We're not sure that we will handle it well, whether it's college or a first job or getting married or being parents for the first time or a change in career or retirement or as you look to the last years of life and you consider your death, we're not always sure we're prepared to handle those things.
     
    So that's why we have these verses today in the gospel. They are for Jesus' followers back then and they are for Jesus' followers now. It is his pep talk to us, words of encouragement and above all words of promise.
     
    Jesus' pep talk starts probably differently than most coaches. I don't think Mike Matheny would start this way. He looked at each one and said, "I love you. I love you." And then here's his twist on it, a strange request. He says, "Don't just think from time to time and remember that I love you." He says, "Abide in my love. Stay in it. Rest in it. Depend on it. Live in my love."
     
    You know, there's a difference between living somewhere and visiting that place. Maybe some of you have visited a small town. Maybe a nice little town by the river. You stayed in a bed and breakfast and it was charming and quaint. It's a whole other thing to live in a small town. And I remember being very surprised the first small town we lived in. Right away I'd walk down the street and people who I didn't know -- teenagers, adults, didn't matter -- would look at me, smile, and say hello. They didn't look the other way or kind of shyly look back. They greeted me as if they knew me, and they didn't.
     
    And pretense at appearance was not as important as it had been growing up in the suburbs. I remember women could wear their hair in rollers at the grocery store and people would think nothing of it. They wouldn't be embarrassed. And everyone knew what everyone else was doing, for better or for worse. But what I found after living there for a while is that you learn you can trust people. And their values become your values, and it changes you.
     
    So Jesus said, "Live in my love. Don't just visit it on Sunday morning, but stay in it. Think of it every moment of your life. Depended on it. Let it change you." So that was his word to us. And then he went on to say, "To live in my love this is what you need to do: you need to keep my commandment." Well now, that sounds very dictatorial, "Keep my commandments." You know, we don't like to hear that, and not that we shouldn't but it really isn't exactly what Jesus was saying. The word "keep" has a lot more meaning than we think. He was saying, "Revere my words. Treasure my words," much as you would revere the advice of a favorite coach or your favorite grandpa. And this was the word that he wanted us to revere. This was the command: "Love one another as I have loved you, and be willing to lay down your life if need be." Those are strong words and yet we understand, and we do. We do in small ways -- sometimes in large ways -- but in small ways certainly we do know how to lay down our lives for someone else.
     
    I think of when I was a teenager and I was a nurse's aide in a nursing home and one of the other young women thought nothing of taking her day off to go with the residents to the parade because she had so much joy in watching them enjoy the parade. Or a father who had a fairly good job, but he got tired of missing his kids' ballgames and finally he just quit and took a job that was much lower pay, feeling that it was better to work hard to put food on the table, but to stay with his kids. Or the woman who gave up a job without another job to fall back on, because she felt that her company was asking her to do unethical things. Or the caring acts that we do, and we saw it in the puppet show where Jimmy sought out his cousin and knew how to comfort her. We know how to lay down our lives in little ways, day by day, for others.
     
    And this is what we can expect, Jesus says, when we do it. Joy, not necessarily happiness. Not necessarily comfort, but joy. And that's because as we risk ourselves for others, we make relationships and we learn to depend on God above all else. And I know that you have all experienced that, whether it's tutoring children after school, or parenting foster children, or giving people rides to places like church. You know that when you risk your time and your energy for others it builds relationships, and that brings joy.
     
    In the last council meeting we talked about how our congregation can not only give money to people who need help, which is very important, but how we can also get involved in their lives -- learn from them, form relationships -- because we know that it is relationships that bring joy. And above all we know that those relationships that we enter into out of love for each other bring joy to the one who gave his life for us.
     
    And then Jesus leaves us with one last word of encouragement, and it's very simple. He says, "I chose you. I chose you."
     
    And it's good to be chosen, isn't it? I mean don't we all feel good about that, whether we're chosen for the team or chosen for a scholarship or chosen for some recognition or honor. Don't we all imagine as adults getting that phone call, "Our company thinks you would be so good when you come in for an interview," but they would come to us that we would be chosen.
     
    Jesus says you did not choose me. But I chose you. There is no good reason that God would become human and suffer and die to relieve us of the consequences of our selfishness. God simply chose to do that, and God continues to choose to do that in every baptism that we have. So little Paige will experience that because what happens in baptism is that God says, "I choose you. I love you. And I appoint you to reveal my love to the world. And as you do, I promise you joy. Not just any joy. My joy. Complete joy. The joy that only I can give."
     
    Amen.
     
    *** Keywords ***
     
    2018, Christ Lutheran Church, Webster Groves, sermon, podcast, Pastor Penny Holste, transcript
  • Apr 15, 2018Released From Captivity
    Apr 15, 2018
    Released From Captivity
    Series: (All)
    April 15, 2018. Pastor Penny preaches on Jesus' purposes when he appeared to his followers following his resurrection. *** [Keywords: 2018 Christ Lutheran Church Gospel Greek I am alive again I say no I want to convert to Judaism I will be left out Jesus Jewish rabbi Mark Zuckerberg Muslim Imam Pastor Penny Holste RSV Romans accept his mission accept this mission admitting your sins all eyes on Jesus all suffering was part of God's plan allow to be held captive anger and selfishness attitude baptized in the name of Jesus become Christian become a Jew being released from captivity blinking blood running through both good and bad bought for us bound to pole breaches in security break Passover bread cavalier changed college class sociology of religion congress convince crucifixion death itself doubt and dread dust all over eat enabled to bring release to the world enemies evangelism tactics extremities eyes of joy facebook feet on the ground final say first Easter evening first reasons flawed as we are flogged followers founder freedom friend values you ghost tests in antiquity gift give them a mission glowing with joy of seeing him again good news and bad news hands and feet hands wash their feet he was present higher purposes holding food hopeful hovering how do you recruit new members impose on ourselves imposed upon us instant coffee invited to baptism inviting your best friend over it's me jewel entrusted to us join your congregation just the opposite kids fighting large group lawn isn't mowed leads to forgiveness life death resurrection live in the water loved and cherished made an appearance make sure they have bones makeup more honest more important to be quick than careful motto move fast and be willing to be broken move fast and break things myself nailed to a cross narrowed with fear or disbelief not just the twelve only way they can receive forgiveness open a door open the scriptures painful process panel persecution in recent times popcorn all over preach repentance and forgiveness to the world purposes really seeing him really there really was alive release from captivity religious leaders repentance for forgiveness requirements risk same clothes second purpose seeing a ghost share it shoulds slogan something good about suffering stamp of God's approval strength students sure you want to join us take time teeth think very highly of me third purpose translated treasured undergo suffering as well very different motto victorious warned them it might be difficult washed and blessed way of living way of operating we are all captive we have his presence what eyes of God look like what might come in what they had seen what you're getting into when we fail wide eyes with astonishment women there as well]
  • Apr 1, 2018Who Played the Fool
    Apr 1, 2018
    Who Played the Fool
    Series: (All)
    April 1, 2018. Easter and April Fools' Day fall on the same date this year. Some say we Christians are foolish to celebrate a man who came back from the dead. How believable is it after all? But Pastor Penny tells us that in this story it's Jesus who plays the fool. He allows himself to be arrested, doesn't speak for himself when given the opportunity, and while being crucified he prays forgiveness for those taunting him. Why does he do all this? For us. In playing the fool for us, Jesus took away our fear of death so that he can help us with life. *** [Keywords: 2018 April Fools April Fools' Day Chicago Christ Lutheran Church Christians Christians live differently Easter Sunday Easter card Eden Seminary God came to earth as human being Pastor Penny Holste Phyllis Tickle Prudential Building They thought I was dead absolute peace abused adult angry associated with Jesus badmouthed befriend unclean people began to breathe again begins here and goes into eternity better blowout body isn't thin enough born into poor family bumper sticker came back from the dead celebrate man chance to live normal life church historian city had no end comparison game contend with courage to take risks death is simply a portal do amazing things do not have to be afraid to die do you want to come eating enough authority enough friends enough money enough strength enough time enough years experience that death family far as I could see fears in life feel foolish for other people force free to live get married gift given on Easter give us life give word of love and forgiveness given opportunity go back and have my baby go to every town grades aren't good enough hard for us to believe sometimes too hard to make the jump have children he is with us he was silent heal blind man on the Sabbath here and eternally hold our lives up home how foolish in his defense ire isn't end of story it was for us job joke joke's on us just a different person keep us from caring kindness leave everything let himself be arrested let himself be crucified life that has no end look different made a difference in her life mission more open-minded most people believe in God near death experience never afraid to die again never see results of efforts new and better life new medication observation deck once the fear of death goes other fears other people's lives overshadowing true worship part of his mission performance play the fool played on them played the fool political view power and desire to help power to help us with life powerful pray forgiveness precious enough prevent miscarriages reminds us resume resurrection resuscitate revealed in complaints rub important religious leaders wrong way school self accusations sermon sexual orientation she said no sleeping speak differently speak for him stand up for people stop buying and selling in temple stopped breathing t-shirt taken away sting of death tallest building team three years on the road to give us something to her dying day tower tribute to loving savior tribute to God try to live as Christ lived tunnel turns us in unbelievable up from the dead voice asked her we don't want to be fooled while on the cross whole story you're not so afraid of live]
  • Mar 25, 2018Break Down Our Prison Walls
    Mar 25, 2018
    Break Down Our Prison Walls
    Series: (All)
    March 25, 2018. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the adoring crowds shouted, "Hosanna!" On this Palm Sunday Pastor Penny preaches on that word, which means "save us." We not only need to be saved from our fears, we also need to be changed so that we can reach out beyond ourselves. *** [Keywords: Chief of Police Willoughby played by Woody Harrelson Christ Lutheran Church Easter Sunday dawns God leads us Greek word Hebrew Jesus has won Mildred Hayes played by Frances McDormand Palm Sunday Palm Sunday crowd Pastor Penny Holste Roman occupation Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri adoration affecting us alcohol led to violence be the kind of police detective you want to be believe in himself beyond their own lives break down our prison walls chief of police city comfortable consumed contribute to low level anxiety council met Tuesday country criticized crowds darkness daughter had been killed dealing with cancer dissolve like shadows of the night don't cry out for help don't look beyond don't want to be changed ecological future as a planet emerge from their prisons expression failed failure family fear of future fears fears tend to trap us focus on ourselves follow Jesus to Good Friday friend go beyond ourselves guilt had to look it up he would save them health issues here at the cross holy are you hopeful hosanna hunker down important messages impossible to improve lot in their lives jubilant keep us awake at night lack of money lashed out lead us leave Palm Sunday like to know lived up to father's expectations living with his mother make it all his responsibility meaning meant neighborhoods not doing his duty not free in their own country own prison of shame own schedules paralyze us parts of this country passionately desires perpetrator prevent it prone to violence publicly shamed him reached out retirement rigid social system rush to Easter satisfy our deepest desires save us saved from their poverty see clearly see other people selfishness sermon setting bombs in Austin shouting singing start loving people stop hating suffers with us and for us talk only to people they know tendency terrible price terrorism they felt trapped through his life and his death took words to heart trying new things trying to teach us turn us inward victory over death evil violence terror guilt shame violence violent movie want to be saved from our fears we will be changed what that word means when Jesus came why would they say that won't appreciate amazing gift world wrote in a letter you have it in you young police officer 2018]
  • Mar 18, 2018The Car Stuck In the Mud
    Mar 18, 2018
    The Car Stuck In the Mud
    Series: (All)
    March 18, 2018. If we were witnesses of the crucifixion -- the blood, the violence, and the inhumanity of it -- would we be able to see the glory in it? Pastor Penny preaches today on how the world looks different to us once we realize that through the cross, Jesus bought us a life we wouldn't have had otherwise. *** [Keywords: 2018 Adult Forum African American woman Christ Lutheran Church God bless us that day God is there God is with us Gospel Greek speaking people Jeff Bezos Jesus is the one who pulls us out Jesus used the cross Jesus was famous Jesus' crucifixion Keith serving rural parish LeBron James Meryl Streep Muslim woman Pastor Penny Holste Pastor Regina Gray Wednesday Bible class admit failure after he was dead another town answer the call to die as we realize assumptions be my follower becomes evident big house big yard birthmark on their face blood bottom of the hill buy us into the family of God can't do it on our own car stuck in the mud caucasian group clearly see color of skin corn could we see glory country roads instead of highway cross becomes real cross bought us priceless gift deeper point did not sound like the Lord difference we see disciples discover amazing new thoughts and ideas doing miracles drive around that sign driving by in tractor each one of us entrusted to youth of congregation eternity everyone needs to be seen failure farmer fears for the Son of Man forgiveness gift themselves for others go into the mud go to college great guest on talk show has to die to produce hate he bought us a life higher paying job hijab hook up chain to bumper hopelessly stuck in the mud hour of glory identity ruined if a grain of wheat if they really want to see me if we were there important part inhumanity it had rained just raised Lazarus from the dead knew her parents needed her know real life know that we are forgiven leisurely Sunday afternoons lifelong friends lifted out from earth lifted up little engine that could looked very intently looks different makes a difference man who loved God so much marry meet someone my soul is troubled nervous next words he spoke not be torn apart not otherwise have had not something we can do not the person nothing less than imminent crucifixion of course open house our color differences out of the grave party pulled him out real estate agent reject parts of this life religious university request road closed see glory in my cross see her point see how it has touched my life see the world differently sell any product sermon set aside prejudice shame sheer will power showing houses sign society speaker speaking about death spent years caring for ailing husband standing in front of me stay at home mothers strengthened faith such a privilege suffer test the hour has come theology time for hobbies to be glorified touchstone truly see person turn away uncomfortable until you get to know them very divided world violence wake up in the morning we can't see her we know who we are we want to see Jesus weakness what wearing wheelchair who would want to follow him will draw all people to myself willing to die without saying anything worked world will never look the same again worship]
  • Mar 4, 2018Cleansing the Temple
    Mar 4, 2018
    Cleansing the Temple
    Series: (All)
    March 4, 2018. The sermon today is on the story in John 2 of Jesus cleansing the temple. Did that system of animal butchering and sacrifice make people feel as though they were in the presence of God? And what about the people walled off from each other: women, gentiles, tax collectors? Does our temple need to be cleansed? Pastor Penny offers some thoughts on how we can be welcoming to everyone. *** [Keywords: 2018 Apostle’s Creed Christ Lutheran Church God always chosen God’s arms are always open God’s saving work Gospel Jerusalem Jesus came to draw all people to himself Jesus so angry John 2:13-22 Moses Passover festival Pastor Penny Holste Reuben access to God angry man with a whip animals running answers that will help us are we building walls assembly line slaughter ate beautiful stone house blood in basin building burning bush burnt offering butchering animals buy buy can’t critique the system can’t see the problems cause harm to innocent people changing money changing the money child children of Israel community complaining continuous progression couple dozen families court of the Israelites court of the gentile court of the lepers court of the women cow crushed its foot coworkers cows cured lepers cursing cut off designated didn’t look like him dishonest disparaging entire temple system does not attend church doves each with an animal entered the city gates explore the temple feeling fence in our yard few benches full of people gentiles glaring grandchild great commotion half shekel of Tyre have no meaning herd hymn of praise in presence of God inner sanctum inspected inspection of animals intermingled judged laughed layer after layer of ritual and commerce less able people less deserving less worthy life and death lost our income loved maimed mistake money for the next year musings no blemish no gentile should walk beyond this sign no religious loyalty no room for them no treat this year offer an additional different kind of worship service offer as sacrifices offering outer court outer courtyard outside of the system part of us parts separated people pour on altar priests from five important families priests required prostitutes purpose of the Passover relationship with God religious system ritual roast and eat animal sacrificial system second gate on the Lockwood side select few sell their cows selling sermon share with the world sheep shouting at people sidewalk between the gates sights signs sin committed skinned slaughtering and sacrificing smells soul searching sounds such a commotion talk to people tax collectors that picture of God that picture of church this animal can’t be sold this is a new time to the Lord treat for Reuben unblemished cows unclean coins under penalty of death walled off from God wanted to be close to the people went into the temple what does church mean to you women worship would pay well 10 miles 40 years in the wilderness]
  • Feb 25, 2018To Make a Hard Decision
    Feb 25, 2018
    To Make a Hard Decision
    Series: (All)
    February 25, 2018. What are our lives worth? Our country today seems to be caught between conflicting values and beliefs. The topic of gun violence and what to do about it is in the news almost daily. It's a hard issue. In her sermon today, Pastor Penny tells us about how Jesus offers us guidance for making these kinds of hard decisions. *** [Keywords: 1937 Chevy coupe 2018 Carl Krebsbach Carla Krebsbach Christ Lutheran Church Garrison Keillor God has claimed for us Gospel Greek word psykhe Jesus is telling us Lake Wobegon Mark Mark 8:31-38 Messiah Minnesota NRA Olympics Pastor Penny Holste Peter about being caught abused against the Kingdom of God answer that question army tank be very careful believe his words believes bring into the world call of distress came out as gay caught between two emotions choice college friend conflicting values beliefs fears contradiction couldn't lie to the patients courage to follow him denial deny related to him deter him disciples dying of cancer experience faltered fictitious figure this one out first of three predictions follow him for making decisions for the good of others gave as gift give up our good gives in go one way or the other good storyteller greater cause gun ownership gun violence hard issue heard all the sides help friend help someone else high school senior his love and forgiveness hitch to pickup homecoming queen hope and health how much Jesus values our lives in return for their life jeopardize killed knitted leader less public arena lose themselves for my sake losing themselves losing your life and saving your life lost job friends family loves Jesus loves her father main street make money making fashion statement means self mental illness no more guns in school our country our lives are worth his life out of love for the giver overly powerful menace own personal safety parade police preserve the practice protect ourselves psyche public safety question Jesus asks rebukes religious leaders rise again sake of the Gospel save themselves scolds him scratchy ugly sweater sense septic tank sermon sewer backed up shame small doctor's office smells something strange so hard society kept him from revealing his true self solution soul searching sport stern and foreboding Gospel suffering and dying and rising teacher teachers should carry guns tell the patients thought throw up hands to lose herself to make a hard decision too much guns tow to dump tradition turns away from Jesus two selves unnecessary danger value of personal freedom values we hold waving and smiling we feel caught we find guidance what is a life worth whatever we decide will be arrested willing to deny ourselves workers with Jesus would not want Messiah to suffer wrong turn young athletes]
  • Feb 11, 2018Everything Changes
    Feb 11, 2018
    Everything Changes
    Series: (All)
    February 11, 2018. The Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain gave the disciples a glimpse of the love that God the Father had for his Son. They also saw Moses and Elijah, revered prophets who had mountaintop experiences of their own. Pastor Penny preaches today on this story, and on how when we come that close to God, the impossible becomes possible and everything changes. *** [Keywords: 2018 Christ Lutheran Church Elijah God is above all this God spoke to them God the Father God the Son God's voice Gospel Greek I will be with you to the end Israel James Jesus would have to suffer Jesus' baptism Jewish religion John Moses Mount Horeb Mount Sinai Pastor Penny Holste Peter Queen Jezebel This is my son the beloved Transfiguration Valentine's Day appearance babbling belonged beloved son brother Aaron build some shelters burdens of everything else came down from the mountain car change Jesus changed changes everything clearest way possible close to God cloud convey to us couldn't do before cowered in cave dazzling white demonstrating desert didn't hoard died for us disciples engagement rings enveloped event just for Jesus everything changes excitement experience face something he doesn't want to face family famous prophets fear first preset gleaming glimpse glitter glowing golden calf hear it hearing heavenly heavenly creature holy one of God how much better how much the father loves the son inevitably invited last words he heard light that we look to listen to him listening little girls princess dresses mountain mountaintop experience music station mutiny new cars news station normal situation on earth opportunity outrageous overwhelmed peace perfect way personal lives place full of joy and hope privileged problems of the world prolong experience put him to death quickly transported radio rejected relationship with God religious leaders reluctantly reminded revealed rise again on the third day rite ritual rose scolded Jesus second station see and hear and feel see something seems impossible becomes possible sermon serve others so impossible so long ago spills over spoken stormy time strange story suddenly suffered supposed to listen to take risks temptation ten commandments that close to God too frustrating too much too sad top of the mountain transform him turn off news channel uncomfortable very clear what seems impossible becomes possible what we're dealing with witness witnesses words]
  • Jan 28, 2018Authority From Within
    Jan 28, 2018
    Authority From Within
    Series: (All)
    January 28, 2018. Mark tells us that Jesus began his ministry by teaching with authority in the synagogue. Some types of authority are granted by institutions. In Jesus' time the religious leaders and scribes wielded authority that depended upon years of study. But Jesus' authority came from within. He broke the rules. Pastor Penny preaches today on how Jesus took on the institutions of power in his mission to eradicate evil. *** [Keywords: 1964 2018 54 years ago Beatles British Invasion Capernaum Chicago Christ Lutheran Church Ferrari Ferris Bueller's Day Off Greek Heathrow Airport JFK Jesus began his ministry Mark 1:21-28 Michigan State New York City Pastor Penny Holste UK United Kingdom allowed his enemies always ones that help amazed any Jewish adult male could preach or teach asked to speak astounded at ease authorities authority given to us authorized by institution avoiding being caught begun teaching benefiting with things just as they are best selling band of all times book of Mark books came from within can never overpower us chairman of corporate board chapel cheering on chief of police church collarless black slim suits colleges comes from inside comes off looking pretty good country course of their day crowd dean of students death death can never have the final word description of Jesus destroy his own body on the cross destroying evil did not happen then didn't depend on years of study didn't have words to explain different dissonant harmony do not want to see it don't care what people think don't talk drive out an evil spirit evil is often embedded in institutions evil spirit evil will be transformed into good expense of the Holy Spirit films follow the rule for the good order fought for freedom four year theological degree freed the man fresh given that authority got word government hampering the spirit have you come to destroy us he had authority he was breaking their rules healed man on the Sabbath high school principal his mission his own image hone their skills hooky in her element institutions interacted with him keep his distance keeping rules leaders let's have communion look at our rules lovingly make a fool make heroes members might hurt some people military mop effect hair musical groups new no one invited Jesus no seminaries in early church only way to eradicate evil ordained minister our own wealth paled in comparison police popular power ideas preaching preside pretended to be sick protected abuse raised again from the dead rankle the religious leaders rationale reception religious institutions religious leaders rock group rule everyone understood rule not helping spirit rules might not be right sake of the institution savior scholars scribes secrecy sermon sightseeing spirit had a question stand up to controlling father stepped forward stepped out of nowhere strong reaction of people studied study for years suburban high school student synagogue taking on evil teaching tempted to protect threw the spirit out ultimate power of evil unclean person undergraduate in college upset very different walked to front walking up front welcome in synagogue what is evil why words flowed naturally work our way up young unassuming woman]