May 21, 2017
Commencement
Series: (All)
May 21, 2017. Commencement speeches such as we hear this time of year always have at least two parts: advice, and encouragement to the graduates. In her sermon today, Pastor Penny talks about Jesus' "commencement speech" to us. He offers us advice and encouragement, and also a promise: that by his death and resurrection he has paid the fine for the penalty we deserve. *** [Keywords: 2017 Gospel Greek Holy Spirit Jesus claims that we are his friends Jesus gives the disciples Jesus has removed our guilt Pastor Penny Holste a little unfair admit to ourselves advances in technology all the things he taught them also points to truth another police car arrested at least two parts ate meal together because we remember his love for us began to get nervous beyond any promise big comfort big help by his death and resurrection by the Spirit and the Son and the Father came up to his window commentator counselor country congregation crucifixion dear to me deeper and more beautiful didn't have sidewalks disciples do things wrong doesn't even seem fair doesn't get you anywhere doesn't make sense don't want to face driving to meeting at night entire city block entryway everything is electives failed the test failures we have final exams financial advisor flashing red lights from now on there is no core curriculum give encouragement give some advice gives you something to do gnarled tree trunk going out into the world alone going wrong in family got off the hook graduates great aunt green leaves oranges bright butterflies guilt gets to us he pays that fine he will ascend out of their vision forever help not only survive but succeed here comes the encouragement part here comes the promise that Jesus makes highway patrolman if you love me keep my commandments in bed with a mosquito interpret keep that lamp keepsakes killed knows he's about to die lamp that looked like tree late to meeting lawyer legal problems license lifestyle shows it look for truth in Washington love our physical comfort member of his congregation minister friend need help next Sunday no traffic not begrudgingly not going to be easy not so easy to see truth in our own lives now and forever we are guided and comforted obey my commandments on our piano painted glass paper dolls in cupboard point out our guilt politicians are human beings politics preserving this planet really believe remember her love remember patient gentle loving woman rest of your life in front of you resurrected from the dead rollerskating see him alive send them the Advocate seniors sergeant says you're a friend of his sergeant was his friend sermon sisters and brothers slow down and drive safely so hard to believe solve problems of the world someone you call to your side speaker spirit of Christ spirit of truth started speeding take away all failures of disciples things are hard time for commencement speeches tiny house to guard to hold dear to preserve too small to be effective truly exciting thing about your life uncomfortable uncomfortable truths unfairness that God treats us with vehicle waited for verdict walking we are forgiven and loved we are guilty we deserve penalty we feel very alone we haven't earned it who's telling the truth and who's not will be alone will they remember willingly went through world doesn't accept it worry is like rocking chair your generation]
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  • May 21, 2017Commencement
    May 21, 2017
    Commencement
    Series: (All)
    May 21, 2017. Commencement speeches such as we hear this time of year always have at least two parts: advice, and encouragement to the graduates. In her sermon today, Pastor Penny talks about Jesus' "commencement speech" to us. He offers us advice and encouragement, and also a promise: that by his death and resurrection he has paid the fine for the penalty we deserve. *** [Keywords: 2017 Gospel Greek Holy Spirit Jesus claims that we are his friends Jesus gives the disciples Jesus has removed our guilt Pastor Penny Holste a little unfair admit to ourselves advances in technology all the things he taught them also points to truth another police car arrested at least two parts ate meal together because we remember his love for us began to get nervous beyond any promise big comfort big help by his death and resurrection by the Spirit and the Son and the Father came up to his window commentator counselor country congregation crucifixion dear to me deeper and more beautiful didn't have sidewalks disciples do things wrong doesn't even seem fair doesn't get you anywhere doesn't make sense don't want to face driving to meeting at night entire city block entryway everything is electives failed the test failures we have final exams financial advisor flashing red lights from now on there is no core curriculum give encouragement give some advice gives you something to do gnarled tree trunk going out into the world alone going wrong in family got off the hook graduates great aunt green leaves oranges bright butterflies guilt gets to us he pays that fine he will ascend out of their vision forever help not only survive but succeed here comes the encouragement part here comes the promise that Jesus makes highway patrolman if you love me keep my commandments in bed with a mosquito interpret keep that lamp keepsakes killed knows he's about to die lamp that looked like tree late to meeting lawyer legal problems license lifestyle shows it look for truth in Washington love our physical comfort member of his congregation minister friend need help next Sunday no traffic not begrudgingly not going to be easy not so easy to see truth in our own lives now and forever we are guided and comforted obey my commandments on our piano painted glass paper dolls in cupboard point out our guilt politicians are human beings politics preserving this planet really believe remember her love remember patient gentle loving woman rest of your life in front of you resurrected from the dead rollerskating see him alive send them the Advocate seniors sergeant says you're a friend of his sergeant was his friend sermon sisters and brothers slow down and drive safely so hard to believe solve problems of the world someone you call to your side speaker spirit of Christ spirit of truth started speeding take away all failures of disciples things are hard time for commencement speeches tiny house to guard to hold dear to preserve too small to be effective truly exciting thing about your life uncomfortable uncomfortable truths unfairness that God treats us with vehicle waited for verdict walking we are forgiven and loved we are guilty we deserve penalty we feel very alone we haven't earned it who's telling the truth and who's not will be alone will they remember willingly went through world doesn't accept it worry is like rocking chair your generation]
  • May 14, 2017Roots and Wings
    May 14, 2017
    Roots and Wings
    Series: (All)
    May 14, 2017. On this Mother's Day, Pastor Keith reminds us that the best gifts that parents can give their children are roots and wings. We strive to create strong relationships with our children, share our values with them, and give them a solid foundation to grow, mature, and eventually fly away on their own. It's the same thing as the church grows and changes. Jesus calls us not just to gather, but to be looking outward, to reach out as a congregation, to live actively in love and service to those around us. *** [Keywords: 2017 50 to 80 years later Christian groups Easter season Family Systems God is present Gospel of John Holy Communion I am the way the truth and the life Jerusalem Jesus is at the heart Jesus is present Jesus is with us in Holy Communion Jesus replies Judas Last Supper Martin Luther Mother's Day Pastor Keith Holste Thomas Virginia about him account of last meal actively in love and service adage after the resurrection all the disciples answering questions ascend to the Father before crucifixion being one with Him best gifts parents give children betray body and blood of Christ bread and wine bring Jesus to neighborhood around us call him Lord calls us to have wings can't huddle together change always brings complexity congregation connections we have days before Easter different beliefs different direction different philosophies direction that really matters following him discussed early days in Christian church early disciples facts not so important families eating together family leader family meal family values fellowship focus inwardly follow him for life foundation function well go along with him go out to all the world going someplace good balance good gifts good strong roots goodbyes grounded groups splitting off grow older hard questions hard tension hard time for them he and the Father are one he is about the Father he is the key hear the call heavy conversation not light holy meal how can we know the way how can we know the way to the Father issues plans dreams brought up keep probing last known gathering leader in church leaving the nest life without physical Jesus live in his name live on their own live their lives lively tension looking outward love our children mature may we be rooted in him meal table meals together mission in different ways places mission plan mom in family motivations move around a lot needing to leave them normal family transitions not just to gather on their own other theories our friend Jesus particularly hard meal persecuted persevere in hard situations phrase stuck with me questions aren't so important raised from the dead reaching out to others relationship with Jesus relationship with him roots and wings roots and wings seek sermon share values shared shares significant discussions skills and preparation smother solid base swayed easily symbols take him with us teach the faith temptation theologies things falling apart things hard to hear times getting tense to be a Christian to follow Jesus toppled trouble with Roman authorities trouble with the Jews varying opinions we don't know where you are going we receive him and God well prepared to live what do these things mean what was going on what we believe what's going on whats who has come before us whole world why is all this happening why is this happening why when where whys will not thrive young ones]
  • May 7, 2017Voices We Can Trust
    May 7, 2017
    Voices We Can Trust
    Series: (All)
    May 7, 2017. We are surrounded by voices in our lives, some we can trust and others we cannot. Some voices, even those we respect, can suck the life out of us. Whether they come from our work, raising our children, or making money, how do we determine which voices we can trust? Of course there is one voice we can trust. Jesus is our perfect good shepherd who came for us to have abundant life. Pastor Penny preaches on what that means for our lives today. *** [Keywords: 2017 Africa Augustana Lutheran Church Christ lived and died and rose for us Christian faith mysteries El Salvador God restores our souls God was using her Gospel Haiti I came that they may have life John 10:1-10 Pastor Penny Holste Sabbath Spotlight movie Washington D.C. abundance of wealth fame success abundant life accused Jesus activities advertising afraid agree all about voices all these years alluring voice ask questions assignments bald head beautiful believed leaders best interest in mind better than that better use of time breaking God's law buy this product challenges and hardships made me strong changing diapers children grown chores close relationship with God coached son's baseball team college commentator computer camp controlling our lives crime curriculum domestic and international organizations don't want to listen emails energetic father eternal future excused from meal preparation experiences financial frustrated full of gratitude future hope to have gates give them things give your kids everything you can grade point average greater purpose greed harried have it abundantly have to be perfect healing man of blindness high school art teacher hurt our relationships impossible claims instilling in you keep a lot of rules kindness knowing our past leisure lessons life of Carol Kramer live our moments lose ourselves in our work magazines or TV makes a difference in our lives making money meaning joy hope meaningless means to an end media literacy meetings more long lasting mother wonderful cook mowing lawn mundane no hesitation not just that moment not suspect not to question one voice that gives us life one voice we can trust online video ordinary day our lives have a purpose ourselves and God parenting patience peace and community building pedophilia people warning against perfect good shepherd person's life position of power present can have eternal meaning provided everything psalmist reconciliation to city remembering handsome college man retrospect revere and respect religious leaders sacrifice time and energy sap the joy self doubt seminary president sermon shared past sheep shepherds sister Joan Rivas snapshot from each era of our lives softening muscles some viewpoints some voices you can trust some you cannot son stubborn successful in everything suck the life out of us suffered suspicious synagogue taking kids to practice tasks taught our children taught people taught to respect tension theologian Paul Tillich tired travel two parables untrue statements voice of Jesus voices in their lives voices we can trust warn us what is abundant life what it isn't whole family why am I raising these funds width of Minnesota wisdom work into pattern world wrinkles writing reports you are so handsome younger]
  • Apr 30, 2017Recognizing Jesus
    Apr 30, 2017
    Recognizing Jesus
    Series: (All)
    April 30, 2017. If we met Jesus, would we recognize him? In today's Gospel the apostles did not recognize the risen Christ even when he himself came up and walked along with them. Pastor Penny preaches on this text, asks us to consider how our desires might cause us to believe in ideas that aren't true, and offers ideas about how we can go out into the world as Easter people and share the gift we've been given. *** [Keywords: 2017 30 more years A self-made success? American dream Christ in actions as you come together Easter evening Easter peple Elijah Ezekiel God promises us Holy Communion every week I didn't recognize you I love you no matter what happens Isaiah Jason Ford Jeremiah Last Supper Let's kill that myth Luke 24:13-34 Maundy Thursday Moses PBS NewsHour Pastor Penny Holste St. Peter Why did you let that car hit me? advantages all on your own angels said Jesus had arisen armed with wits and strong work ethic astronaut baby was not going to live be prepared to suffer be transformed beaten beautiful idea but isn't true began to believe best possible future blinded them blinds us born into bought land decades ago bring meals broke through that desire burst into tears care about people charismatic leader climbed way to top college with no school debt color of our skin corporate ladder couldn't be Messiah created it dead discipline doctor gave bad news don't recognize him empowered exiled extreme dedication face to face in eternity facelift fail to be grateful fed the 5000 four year old boy free Israel generations before gift we've been given give rides glorious vision good schools good success story hair dyed hand-me-down clothes handshakes harsh realities he's alive heart attack hearts kept them from recognizing help to buy house hit by a car and killed how foolish you are hugs humble background image of Messiah imprisoned in community with him once again inherit intelligence interpret story invest in startup kept them from seeing king leader killed leading people into idolatry left some money lending discrimination less fortunate love into your families make it on our own maybe he's alive meet Jesus mid 70s military leader millionaire miraculous way modern day parallel neighbors not one of the twelve not practicing justice and mercy of course the Messiah was going to die on fire with hope out into the world pastor friend pearly gates people of God had to suffer pick up hints place where you work live learn play prayerfully with other people preach and do miracles predicted would die and rise pregnant prophet prophetic tradition rally the troops really isn't true relatives rely not on ourselves but on God retraced their steps rocket fly to moon rooted in history safe neighborhood save Israel saw God in that little boy say things that were hard scripture see christ through us send letters serious help sermon seven miles to Jerusalem show us the stars slow of heart to believe slow to believe smiles sold for fortune son stand up stand up to powers that be story preserved 2000 years for us suffering servant support structure take care of people take care of widows and orphans and foreigners in country teachers tech entrepreneurs testimony of women through this faith community throw off power of Roman Empire tomb was empty took the bread blessed it and broke it tummy tuck two generations ago two men in Jesus' inner circle unable to see vanished very sad want to believe it wanted to believe we don't recognize God we have seen him we made a mistake white light white man white privilege whole new possibility woke up woman taken to hospital working your way up from nothing worth it]
  • Apr 23, 2017By the Witness
    Apr 23, 2017
    By the Witness
    Series: (All)
    April 23, 2017. Pastor Keith preaches during this season of Easter on trusting the good news. When Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection, he offered them peace and forgiveness, and gave them the power to forgive others in his name. Only a limited number of people saw the risen Christ, but millions have since come to believe. They have come to the faith not by proofs, but by the witness of those who trust in Jesus. *** [Keywords: Christ candle Christians Easter vigil God's church Gospel of John Greek word pistos Holy Spirit I am your way out I can observe I stand on this India Jesus brings life Jesus comes to us Jesus takes forward step John the writer Keith Holste Messiah Pastor Pentecost abuse and sin of world afraid of Jewish authorities after Jesus dies after the resurrection alive again all who believe argument articles of faith associate word believe assurance we need baptized people barricades bear that light of Christ behind closed doors believe word bodily book of signs brain matter breathe on us his breath breathes on them by the witness calls us to believe came to believe cerebral challenge to believe close the door cognitive brain come in my name come to faith coming to faith communities of people confront things that are hard corwardly creeds denying died on a cross different directions different sects difficult times disciples divine authority divisions in church earth elements of baptism erect escape rooms faith is possible fear factors fearfulness first Century first and second Sunday follow through with whole body font forgive others in his name forgiven before God forgiveness abound forgives them from the dead gathered in fear get out of here gift of baptism give up ourselves go tell the world about me good news of resurrection grieving groups hands with scars have life abundantly healed person hearing the words hearts hide history how to get out how we live our lives in the head in the mind interjects is this really the same person keep trouble away latitude life in his name life love serve in the name of Jesus limited number of people locked in locked or small space logical proofs looming problem lots of faith lots of ways people come to the faith made water into wine many new churches mentally convinced millions of people mind modern age more than evidence my lord and my god nails needed to be forgiven not by proofs not so sure observe offers his hands offers them peace out into world peace be with you peace be with you peace of mind peace with others physical evidence physical proof power of God proved the message of John provides life questions raised Lazarus recreation restoration resurrected Jesus risen Christ risen body of Jesus rose from the dead run away running away sacrifice safe rooms say the right words science guy season of Easter see his wounds self made prisions sermon seven signs shown to world shut the door sinfully sins and troubles of world something we can touch son of God stood among them story of Thomas strong supporter of Jesus suffered and died support take up arms to defend Jesus these things are written things we're afraid of through believing through wall of the room total peace touch his wounds translate trouble believing trust in him truth unfaithful things water of baptism we can receive wedding whole self wholeness whose we are will not be kept out won't believe words and testimony of believing Christians work of God wounds in your side and hands 40 days 2017]
  • Apr 16, 2017This Easter Hope
    Apr 16, 2017
    This Easter Hope
    Series: (All)
    April 16, 2017. The Easter story may be hard to believe, but it rings true. Pastor Penny talks today about Mary Magdalene, the first person to see Jesus alive after his resurrection. Suddenly she had a future, and she could go through life confidently sharing the good news. We're like Mary. As Jesus called her by name, so he is calling us. He wants us too to share in word and deed this Easter hope. *** [Keywords: Easter Easter story changes us Garden of Eden Garden of the Resurrection God called us by name God is holding us God planted us God's precious planting Gospel Jesus cured her Jesus himself appears Jesus understands grief Magdala Mary believes Pastor Penny Holste agonizing death all four Gospels all she has left of Jesus always hanging on always searching anchored approached the tomb ascend to the Father avid gardeners baptism because they've taken the body boy walking with grandfather cast out seven demons cloths wrapped around commissioned concern for the body confidently through life cross crying outside tomb did not share hope disciple dismiss friends' encouragement does not recognize him doesn't recognize them everything you need expected worst experience of humanity we cannot avoid experienced human life famous Roman statesman Cicero far as he could see first Easter first person to see Jesus alive flourish follow me for balance excitement success security for the future for us too frame of mind fruit that isn't so good garden and a library garden was quiet gardening as a chore get on the team get that scholarship go to my brothers good fruit good place or bad place grace of God gratefully great apostle great place to be the garden green tall strong trees grow handkerchief rolled up carefully hang on to him physically hard to believe held comforted strengthened by Jesus' spirit her lord her teacher friend beloved leader hold onto the past hope and prayer instinctively grabs hold is this orchard dying lay someone we love to rest in grave leaves reaching up lives are like orchard lost him once lump must be cancer maybe I'll be lonely mental illness messengers of hope mourn a dead body mourn at Jesus' tomb must have stolen his body my Father and your Father my God and your God never really notice not all we have not good enough for job not like robber would do old story one again with God only hope orchard our lives matter outcast in society pain in Mary's soul planted in God's garden power of the Holy Spirit rated gardens right up there with library reason to believe recognizes that voice reconnected records of the church recreating relationship between human beings and God resurrection reunited rich soil rings true rival Peter rock over entrance had been rolled away roots go down deep scrubby looking send her his spirit sermon share in word and especially in deed sharing good news sins are forgiven solitary figure sometimes both spring blossoms around us tall and strong things we love this Easter hope this joy this message this promise those that have gone before us those we love took her sad news took his body top of the ridge two angels until he calls her name Mary use this life vast forest into eternity very hard things victory over death and evil we are like Mary we are like a tree wept at tomb of Lazarus who are you looking for why are you crying without going in woman named Mary Magdalene wonderful things 2017]
  • Apr 2, 2017Resurrection Sightings
    Apr 2, 2017
    Resurrection Sightings
    Series: (All)
    April 2, 2017. Jesus tells us that the new life he brings is something not just to be believed in or confessed, but to be experienced. Where have we seen new life in Jesus around us? Pastor Keith preaches on how the story of Jesus giving new life to Lazarus is central to the Gospel of John. This word of life, this resurrection sighting, was an organizing principle for the early Christians. How do our lives today hinge on this Jesus who gives new life?
     
    *** Transcript ***
     
    We begin in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
     
    Our gospel today comes from the exact middle of John's gospel, and that's important for several reasons. One of them is that, given the way that literature was interpreted then, especially by the Jews, the middle was the main thing. It provided the organizing principle for the whole writing. So in our lesson today about Lazarus and Jesus, it's like a hinge. The whole book of John turns on this story. Before this, Jesus is going about teaching and performing miracles. This is the seventh and last, and most significant, miracle or sign leading up to his death and resurrection. But from here on out everything changes, as you can tell from those few verses I just read. Now he will soon be headed for Jerusalem for his last days. It seems like this particular story was included in the Book of John, in this important place, because it reflected the position of life of those who were hearing this gospel read. John is thought to have been written somewhere between the year 80 and 100. This is a time when the Romans were still in control. John is thought to have perhaps written this in hiding on the island of Patmos, as he was in exile from the Romans. This is a signal to us that this is written for a people for whom a choice for Jesus was just as risky as the choices Jesus had to make as he came to Bethany to do this deed. It was a risky place to be.
     
    Throughout the past few months, we've been mentioning the movement of Jesus in the early days of his ministry. He would go from Nazareth, to the River Jordan, to Capernaum, and each of these had significance because of the politics that was around. Each was an important place, a place for a reason, because he needed sanctuary or safety in a certain place. Now he's called to Bethany, for Lazarus, just a couple of miles from Jerusalem. He hesitates to go. There are many interpretations of this, but the strongest argument to me is that it means his final commitment to go to the cross. As our reading ended in these verses I just read, how the giving of life to Lazarus meant that the authorities would begin the process of arresting Jesus so they could put him to death.
     
    So the readers, the original audience of the Book of John, didn't think this was just an interesting story about Jesus doing a phenomenal thing. To be in his predicament is where they were in life. The movements they would make, the places they would go, would put their lives in danger. How could they live out the life of Jesus in their day and in their place? Would they go into exile? Would they leave home and go to another place? Would they stay and be quiet, or would they stay and be obvious about their illegal faith? Would they take steps like Jesus did which would put them in danger? And as they made movements they would be asked tough questions like Jesus was. They would need to answer in sensitive ways, as Jesus did. They would on occasion say what they believed.
     
    Martha is seen as confessing her faith as a Christian, on her own day, but as the model of the person who could speak the faith of the church. "I know that my brother will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." It's a confession of faith. She believes in the resurrection of the body. And, "Yes Lord, I believe that you are the messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world." She's the model Christian — and a woman at that — who speaks at the outright summary confession of who Jesus is and what Jesus is about, the most important place in the Book of John: in the middle of it. This is the key thing to know.
     
    Her sister Mary is a little different. Just as we in our day say we have different preferred spiritual modes, and just as maybe some of us are more left-brained and some of us are more right-brained, some of us have logical statements of faith, and that's kind of how we see our faith, like in statements like the Creed. Others of us are more creative about it and think of our faith in different ways. Maybe we're more like Mary, who wanted to be near the Lord, we know. She wanted to sit by his side when he was at their house. But at this time she expresses her faith by saying, through her tears, "If you'd been here Lord, Lazarus would not have died."
     
    Meanwhile here, just as every action of Jesus was provoking comment and reaction from the other religious authorities and people, we can guess that those early Christians in the days of John were provoking actions from religious authorities also and from the governmental authorities. People were reacting to them. To accept the new life that Jesus brings is not a neutral thing. It provokes reaction. We will ask ourselves: will we, as Mary and Martha did, remain firm in our faith that Jesus is the one who brings life?
     
    I said earlier that this main, middle story of John was the organizing principle of his whole gospel. This life that Jesus gives is the organizing principle for us as Christians. It was at the core of Martha's pivotal confession of faith. And so it was a main thing in the lives of those early Christians who lived in risky times. Can we say that this word of life that was there for Martha and for them is our organizing principle for life? Does our life hinge on this Jesus who came to give life, and did this to such a degree that he was willing to die for our sakes so that we might have life? That's really what happened here in this story. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and the response of the authorities was the plot to kill him. Because in their view if he kept on doing these life-giving things, everyone would believe in him and the Romans would come and destroy their buildings — which indeed happened. The high priest declares it's better for one man to die than for the nation to be destroyed.
     
    We have to acknowledge that often, the world prefers things the way they are rather than to have new life. People like the positions they are in. They like the way things are around them. They often resist the changes that would mean fuller life for more people. Bringing new life and changing the status quo so often meets resistance. What Jesus tells the people to do in the story with Lazarus, he says, "Go, unbind him and let him go." That seems to be a word that Jesus gives to all of us who live by his command and by the life that he brings. It's a challenge for us to see where life is bound in the world and not being lived freely and fully. Where can lives be unbound so that the new life Jesus brings can come and give that new life? Where do we see that in our worlds? How can we be the ones who bring and allow the life-giving word of Jesus, through both words and actions, so that those who are bound can be freed to have and enjoy what Jesus wants all people to have? This might be with individuals who are bound up, or with groups of people small or large who, due to physical or mental or economic conditions are stuck in a place that's not fruitful, and with encouragement and leadership and assistance might be able to break forth into a new place in life.
     
    Kind of related to this idea, it's been pointed out that so often when we talk about new life in the context of the resurrection, that it's kind of a subject of something that is to be believed in, something we confess in the creeds. It's something which really can't be comprehended. But what Jesus is saying here is that it's really something to experience. A person came up to a friend of ours who was preaching, and preached in such a way in her sermon that when people came out to greet her at the end, one woman said, "That was a resurrection moment." The person that heard the words of the preacher through the work of the Holy Spirit, so she felt new life had come to her at that moment — she had had, we might say, a resurrection experience. Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus to have a new life. It wasn't something he believed in, or just said, "I believe" (in the words of the Apostles Creed) "that Jesus is risen from the dead and I will be raised one day." He received the new life, and Lazarus was able to live it.
     
    So the new life God gives us in Christ is more than just something we believe in for after death, or more than something we try to comprehend and make theological explanations about. The resurrection word we hear, just as Lazarus heard the words, "Lazarus, come out," is a word of promise to us, that calls us out to live in a new way: in the light of Jesus. It's not a theory, it's not an ambiguous promise, but it's real. It's a relationship with God that's lived out in the present. New life given to us by Jesus.
     
    In recent weeks we've heard how this has shown up in the lives of people as Jesus has encountered them. A few weeks ago we heard about the woman at the well in conversation with Jesus. Resurrection came to her and she had new life. Last week we heard of a man born blind who was healed by Jesus and came to new life in Jesus. Lazarus heard his name called out, and rose from the tomb and came out. In baptism, God has called us to new life. He has unbound us and freed us to live new life in his name. Resurrection isn't about just what happens after life. It starts already, and it's about living our lives in faith, that we have already been called out to live this kind of life every day.
     
    Sometimes with the youth we talk about: where have you seen God today? Where is a God sighting in your life? We discuss, for they have seen God active in their lives. Maybe we should think in terms of "resurrection sightings." Where have we seen the new life of Jesus in our lives or around us? When has Jesus said to us, as he said to Lazarus, "Come out?" And now that's given us new life, and has shown up as a resurrection sighting in our lives — as we live in ways that show this life that he has given, not only to Lazarus, but to us.
     
    But this isn't easy work to do. As Jesus found out, as the disciples found out, as the early Christians found out, there is resistance all around. It's hard work living resurrected lives. And so we need strengthening to do that. We need the nourishment of the Lord's meal to keep it up. We give thanks to God for the new life we have in Jesus, as we receive the bread and wine of this meal. We pray that God strengthens us to live as ones unbound and freed by Jesus. And as we receive this meal we cherish the company of fellow resurrected ones, as we receive the meal together to go out and live lives of resurrection. And this morning we're so happy that seven new of our young children will receive this meal with us. They'll join this fellowship of resurrected ones. Having been baptized already they have this life, and they can join with us be this band of people sharing the Lord's risen presence, as he promises us resurrection as well.
     
    Amen.
     
    *** Keywords ***
     
    2017, Christ Lutheran Church, Webster Groves, sermon, podcast, transcript, Pastor Keith Holste, John 11:1-45, first communion
  • Mar 26, 2017Though I Was Blind, Now I See
    Mar 26, 2017
    Though I Was Blind, Now I See
    Series: (All)
    March 26, 2017. Not everyone wants to be free from blindness. Pastor Penny preaches today on both the physical blindness of the man Jesus healed in John 9:1-41, and on another kind of blindness. The Pharisees who questioned the healed blind man were themselves blinded, by their rules, and by their obsession with keeping the law. Are we more like the blind man or the Pharisees? When Jesus invites us to the baptismal font, do we promise to try to see others as God sees us? *** [Keywords: Amy high powered New York architect At First Sight movie God valued him Gospel James Jesus invites us to the baptismal font Jesus offers healing Jesus' intention John 9:1-41 Pastor Penny Holste Pharisees Sabbath Shirl Jennings Ten Commandments Virgil able to see accepts afraid all their many rules already loves us anxieties baptized based on true story beggar bird took off flying blind from birth blinded by rules booted from synagogue breaking rules broken commandment called him Lord can be painful challenged their blindness come to see God compulsion confident couldn't remember their image crucified did not want to dirt distances were confusing doctor dog from cat drives wedge between us and people we love educated ends on sad note excellent in work or school eyesight fall back fall in love feeling fell on knees felt more disabled felt superior first a man free from blindness get rid of their blindness gift good life in spite of blindness great temptation having our trust healer helping someone on Sabbath highly respected leaders ice skating on pond identity independent keep all the rules keeping trust kneading bread know world without seeing known by everyone light of God's love look at life through God's eyes lost confidence love and forgive us forever love and mercy maintaining certain lifestyle make paste man from God massage therapist mitzvot mixing anything with hands more aware of Jesus more confusing and scarier never gave up on them obsession with keeping the law offered to end their blindness our value is already there outcast physical blindness physical sight pool and be healed prefers to remain blind questioned the healed blind man reaction to world reason he was killed recover sight regained energy religious leaders renewed creative energy road leading to village rose from darkness of death saddest thing about their compulsion about rules see others as God sees us see others like God sees us sinful society portrayed solution for eyelids something more precious soul searching spit still blind stronger than blindness succeeding in physical challenges successful operation take over our lives teaching then prohpet they were seeing God third commandment through hearing time and money touching trust Jesus trust in loving God unfailing promise unless they were dying vacation spa valued by God wash eyelids in pool wasn't being punished when we fail who God was who he was whole new understanding your sins remain 613 rules]
  • Mar 19, 2017Quite a Transformation
    Mar 19, 2017
    Quite a Transformation
    Series: (All)
    March 19, 2017. Pastor Penny preaches on John 4:5-42, the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. He transformed her and her community when he told her that the traditions that divide us are not that important, and that he was the Messiah. Jesus invites us too to be transformed, to trust in the living water of baptism and God's love. *** [Keywords: Easter morning Gospel story of transformation Harry Potter I am the Messiah I've got news Jesus invites us Jesus is the magic wand Jews and Samaritans John 4:5-42 Judea back to Galilee Samaritan woman at well afraid for future ask for living water bad habit best she could blame wife bold third step break down wall because of religion bringing the harvest broke two taboos challenges we face confessed Jesus dance changed completely demand or invitation or request dependency didn't criticize difficult disciples eternal first as a baby first step five husbands forgot bucket at well garage gave woman courage get rid of it give me this water gives life go ask your husband to come here greater than Jacob? had hope hard to shake it hated Samaritans he walks with us heat of day her whole community home and garden channel issue in relationship keeping two people apart leaving himself open lifeless body live day to day makes a move making himself vulnerable man divorce wife unable to have children man not your husband man stretched out on cross man to man to man medical or financial challenge men did not speak to women in public messy room tidy minister to him neat and functional needed roof over head no choice no confidence no longer despairing no power to change situation not her fault at all old house paper picked up twirled around dance partner project real world requested drink of water resolving issue risky savior of the world second step seems impossible seen the Messiah share the love of God she could ignore request spoke to woman step by step stuck swipe a wand talked to her through not around Samaria traditions that divide us are not that important transformed woman's life transforms in a process transforms us treated her as equal trust in his love trust in living water trust in power of God unclean bucket understood pain and valued her until she met Jesus used to criticism village invited Jesus water of baptism water of baptism where are you getting this water? why are you asking? willingness to be vulnerable willingness to engage winter being transformed into spring woman not cared for women go in groups work through it worship in Jerusalem]
  • Mar 12, 2017No Ordinary Gift
    Mar 12, 2017
    No Ordinary Gift
    Series: (All)
    March 12, 2017. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (John 3:16 NRSV). This is many people's favorite verse in the Bible. Pastor Keith discusses the text, and how Martin Luther struggled with it as a young man until he had the idea that God's love is a gift to be received rather than a reward to be earned. *** [Keywords: Abraham Christians Christmas For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life God's grace God's perfect action of love and forgiveness God's pure love God's pure love for us Gospel Heaven Holy Spirit Jesus was God's good gift John 3:16 Martin Luther Nicodemus Pastor Keith Holste Paul Romans accepting act of faith at great cost to God attempt to grow in quality of love babies baby has not done anything benefits of Jesus billboards cash check central church completely convicted by sin covered us into eternity die for sake of the world direction earn God's favor earn what we get escape from sin eternal life faith and promise relationship fallback position favorite Bible verse favorite lessons favorite passage flipped upside down freely fruits of faith games gift becomes ours gift of Christ child gift of salvation gift to be received gift wrapping give his life give us the kingdom glory and praise go to God human activity human brain human conditions humanity imperfection important lessons infant baptism keeping certain rules large check thousands of dollars message of grace money behind check to cover it more votes never escape no ordinary gift nothing is free offered to us other religions physical health received into the presence of God receiving gift relationship with God relieved resurrection reward to be earned righteousness sake of the world salvation comes by believing promise saved by his faith saved the world send the very best signs similar cycles simply by believing promise slow to understand such good news taken as faith thinking good thoughts tormented trying to please God very costly why we call ourselves Lutheran wonderful gift wonderful thing Jesus has promised worthy of receiving young man]