Sermons on “Acts”

From Antioch to Augustana

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen Augustana Church, located in the city of West St. Paul and the church in Antioch are separated by over 2000 years of time.The city of Antioch was founded in 300 BC and the Romans took control of it in about 63 AD – 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was located in what is now Turkey. It was a big, thriving city on a major trade route.

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God Shows No Partiality

            I present to you an exhaustive list of the personal, cultural, and societal characteristics that exclude someone from the love of God and prevent full inclusion in Christian community.            In case you couldn’t hear me, what I said was nothing.  Nothing excludes someone from God’s love or from membership or even leadership within the body of Christ.  Nothing.  God shows no partiality.

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The Native Language of the Gospel

God of Spirit,

We give thanks that when you sent your Advocate, the apostles were empowered to speak about your deeds of power in all languages, for every people. Give us boldness to share the Spirit’s power with our neighbors. Amen.

As of late I have begun to consider myself a master linguist; a translator par excellence. You see, I have a barely-two-year-old in my home, Ingrid. And like most toddlers, she’s learning language by listening, observing, exploring and copying.

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The Business of the Church

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen

One of the things that needs to happen in a sermon is a call to action.

A sermon should move the listener to respond to God’s call in her life.

A sermon should challenge the listener so he considers his relationship with God. A sermon should invite the listener to be part of God’s work in the world.

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Unless Someone Guides Me

Let me start with a hypothetical situation. If I were to tell you that a white, straight, blue-collar, male, gun-owning, evangelical fundamentalist from a southern state ran into a black, lesbian, academic, female, Bernie-backing, progressive Protestant from a major urban area, and the two just so happened to immediately connect about scripture, and not only would they inspire each other to greater faith, but not a single word would be wasted on all their differences and arguments, but rather the two would come away still more ready to serve God in their own, dramatically different lives, would you suppose for even a second that such a thing could be possible?

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Appointed to this Task

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace. Amen

Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.

Are you a little confused as you listened to the reading today?

I know what you are thinking – what is this all about? A food fight?

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What I Have I Give You

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I am getting tired. I am getting tired of hearing people say that they’ll keep someone or someplace or something in their prayers. A tragedy happens, an illness is diagnosed, death prevails, and we say, “Our prayers are with you”. You know why I’m tired of it? Because whenever we say it, we just say it.

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You Will Be My Witnesses

When I think about what it means to be a witness to the resurrection, the first person who comes to mind is my grandmother, Edith. Grandma Edith was my dad’s mother, and there is one story in particular that he tells about her that has shaped how I think about care and love and forgiveness–in other words, how I think about witness to the things that Jesus taught and showed us.

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God is Calling Us

Good morning, brothers and sisters; we are very happy to be with you here today. Two weekends ago, we had our Leaders’ Retreat at the Lutheran Center and three of the leaders from your companion congregation, San Agustin, came to participate: Pastor Fabian, Julio, and Santiago. We told them that we would be here with you today, and they were very pleased and asked us to greet you for them. They are working very hard on the construction of the church building, trying to finish this big job. They have encountered many challenges in this process, as it has not been easy work, but they are doing it with great joy.

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