Sunday, July 18, 2010

Listen First

Below you can read the first part of my notes from this morning's preaching, the texts were from Genesis 18:1-15; Psalm 15; Colossians 1:15-28; Luke 10:38-42.  The audio version is not complete from the beginning and my notes don't go all the way through the "vision" of God's grace I was given eight days ago--you can read more about that here.  

In the gospel from Luke 10 we see Martha making things nice for Jesus in her home.  Her her sister Mary is doing nothing but sitting, listening to what Jesus was saying.  Jesus says: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."

Notes for preaching from July 18, 2010

The “better” part—the “one thing”—the precious jewel that we cannot and should not miss—we receive that as we hear, as we listen… not to just any voice… but as we listen to the Word of God.

That’s why Jesus pointed out Martha’s distracted ways, scurrying here and there, trying to make everything nice.

Hospitality is a good thing. Hebrews 13:2 says this: Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.

An angel is a messenger of God and a warrior of God—an angel is a messenger warrior of God who wields the sword of the Holy Spirit—an angel can be a person or a prophet who comes to speak the truth—in Genesis 18 Abraham welcomes three guests who speak for God. The most important guest, of course, is Jesus Christ.

When you pray, “Come, Lord, Jesus, be our guest” do you expect then to hear him speak? If we simply entertain our Lord, whether he arrives in a person or even as an angel… if we simply invite Jesus in a prayer but do not listen to him, we’ve missed the point of inviting him at all. We welcome Jesus, and angels, and prophets, and anyone who speaks God’s Word, so we can listen—so we can hear what the Lord has to say.

It’s time to listen—to listen to God’s excellent promises, so no faithless fears or worldly anxieties will hide us from the light of God’s love—even in the storm.

Yesterday we celebrated the wedding of Richard Kuhl and Amanda Schmieg. After the wedding the sirens blew. A tornado had been spotted up near Kingston and it was moving south-east.

Those of us who have been through tornado warnings most of our lives don’t tend to be too panicked about them. I know some have suffered terribly, but many of us know that a direct tornado hit is pretty rare. But still, we know it can happen. So, as a way of remembering God’s glorious promises, we prayed together in the church basement—trusting in the promises God has made—asking God to spare us for Jesus’ sake—and receiving the peace that goes way beyond what we can understand, peace rooted in what Jesus has done for us in his life, his sufferings, his death and his resurrection. We stayed down the basement for a short time, we calmed the visitors from California—no tornado warnings out there—and soon the storm passed by.

But we could only pray, and be confident in God’s help, because we had listened to God’s Word. And that’s the same listening that God calls us to in the scripture readings for today.

Abraham and Martha were very busy making preparations for their guests. But the most important thing was what the heavenly messengers had to say—the mysterious trio in Genesis 18—and Jesus in Luke 10.

God wants us to listen to his Word, to learn from it, to live by it, but especially to know and allow God’s glorious grace to sink deep into our souls, so we are never afraid.
You can listen to most of the 10:30 version of today's sermon by clicking here. I'll see if I can get the complete sermon uploaded later... technical issues that missed the first few sentences or paragraphs I think in what I could get ready quickly.

Here are the prayers from worship for you to pray where ever you are
Suggested prayers for June 18, 2010.

Our Lord Jesus has made us children of God through baptism and faith. So as children come to their mother or father with their needs, let us bring our needs to God. After each prayer I will say “Let us pray to the Lord.” Please respond with “Lord, have mercy.”

We stand in awe, Father God, of your mercy. We stand in awe of your powerful grace and of your Word which tells us from the beginning that everything is going to be okay. Use every circumstance of life to make us listen to you, so we are not afraid. Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

Thank you for your promises, solid promises based on your life, sufferings, death and your glorious rising from the dead. Help us listen for and remember those promises at all times, not only for ourselves, but also for others, so many may be brought close in your love, forgiven and new and clean. Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For all the baptized, that they might not stray from you, and that your Holy Spirit would grant to them, and to each of us who hear your Word, a faith that is stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the Gospel. Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

We thank you for those who have welcomed us with good hospitality, who, like Martha and Abraham, make strangers and friends feel honored and cared for. Thank you for all of our vocations and the opportunities you give us to serve. Thank you for the many ways our church serves others beyond our area: though our missionaries in Japan, through Lutheran Social Services and Lutheran World Relief and so many other notable and important organizations. But as we serve, never let us turn our attention from your Word. Bring us, every day, to times when we sit quietly, listening carefully to what you say. Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For a Gospel zeal that strains to make Christ known with all the energy that He powerfully works in us, and for the work of the Holy Spirit, that unbelieving hearts would be turned to faith in Jesus, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

For faith that rejoices in sufferings and trusts that God is using those troubles for our good and for the good of those around us, and for gifts of healing and transformation, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.

Add your own prayers here.

Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Headed in to Minneapolis now to visit mom and dad. Dad turned 84 yesterday.  I'm just 30 years behind.

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